American parenting has become more involved — requiring more time, money and mental energy — not just when children are young, but well into adulthood.
The popular conception has been that this must be detrimental to children — with snowplow parents clearing obstacles and ending up with adult children who have failed to launch, still dependent upon them.
But two new Pew Research Center surveys — of young adults 18 to 34 and of parents of children that age — tell a more nuanced story. Most parents are in fact highly involved in their grown children’s lives, it found, texting several times a week and offering advice and financial support. Yet in many ways, their relationships seem healthy and fulfilling.
Nine in 10 parents rate their relationships with their young adult children as good or excellent, and so do eight in 10 young adults. Rather than feeling worried or disappointed about how things are going in their children’s lives, eight in 10 parents say they feel proud and hopeful.
“These parents, who are Gen X, are more willing to say, ‘Hey, this is good, I like these people, they’re interesting, they’re fun to be with,’” said Karen L. Fingerman, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies adults’ relationships with their families.
As for the adult children, she said, “You get advice from a 50-year-old with life experience who is incredibly invested in you and your success.”
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