Another False Dichotomy: Social and Physical Pain

The Ties That Bind

I swear I read other publications besides the NY Times, but lately I keep finding interesting material there. For instance, this op-ed piece written by two university professors about the relationships between parents and their adult children. Young men, it seems, are catching up with women in terms of the emotional intimacy and involvement they have with their parents. What's more, for all the handwringing about the-generation-that-won't-grow-up, there are benefits from this parental support.

"Young adults who received financial, practical and emotional support from their parents reported clearer life goals and more satisfaction than young adults who received less parental support. This support ranged from room and board to making a car available, to parents’ listening to their son or daughter talk about the day," the authors say.

 But they also note the shame parents and adult children alike feel about what they see as over-dependence. The professors argue that the problem might be the shame itself and not the reality of the parental support. 

"In our surveys, parents and grown children alike reported uneasiness, viewing intense parental support in adulthood as a sign of damaging over-involvement. Parents reported less satisfaction about their own lives if they believed their children were too dependent. The problem isn’t with the help, per se, but with viewing that support as abnormal and worrying that it could cause harm. Maybe we just need to get over this discomfort."

Food for thought.


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