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Guidelines About Intergenerational Relationships In Family

Children and parents tend to remain closely connected to each other across the life course, and it is well-established that the quality of intergenerational relationships is central to the well-being of both generations (Merz, Schuengel, & Schulze, 2009; Polenick, DePasquale, Eggebeen, Zarit, & Fingerman, 2016). Recent research also points to the importance of relationships with grandchildren for aging adults (Mahne & Huxhold, 2015). We focus here on the well-being of parents, adult children, and grandparents. 

An essay writer is a person who can write articles about any topic so they can easily cover family relation topics in essay as well. Parents, grandparents, and children often provide care for each other at different points in the life course, which can contribute to social support, stress, and social control mechanisms that influence the health and well-being of each in important ways over the life course (Nomaguchi & Milkie, 2003; Pinquart & Soerensen, 2007; Reczek, Thomeer, et al., 2014).


Family scholarship highlights the complexities of parent–child relationships, finding that parenthood generates both rewards and stressors, with important implications for well-being (Nomaguchi & Milkie, 2003; Umberson, Pudrovska, & Reczek, 2010). Parenthood increases time constraints, producing stress and diminishing well-being, especially when children are younger (Nomaguchi, Milkie, & Bianchi, 2005), but parenthood can also increase social integration, leading to greater emotional support and a sense of belonging and meaning (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000), with positive consequences for well-being. Studies show that adult children play a pivotal role in the social networks of their parents across the life course (Umberson, Pudrovska, et al., 2010), and the effects of parenthood on health and well-being become increasingly important at older ages as adult children provide one of the major sources of care for aging adults (Seltzer & Bianchi, 2013). Always choose the best write my essay online service that guarantees timely delivery of essays on family relation topic. Norms of filial obligation of adult children to care for parents may be a form of social capital to be accessed by parents when their needs arise (Silverstein, Gans, & Yang, 2006). 

Although the general pattern is that receiving support from adult children is beneficial for parents’ well-being (Merz, Schulze, & Schuengel, 2010), there is also evidence showing that receiving social support from adult children is related to lower well-being among older adults, suggesting that challenges to an identity of independence and usefulness may offset some of the benefits of receiving support (Merz et al., 2010; Thomas, 2010). Contrary to popular thought, older parents are also very likely to provide instrumental/financial support to their adult children, typically contributing more than they receive (Grundy, 2005), and providing emotional support to their adult children is related to higher well-being for older adults (Thomas, 2010). In addition, consistent with the tenets of stress process theory, most evidence points to poor quality relationships with adult children as detrimental to parents’ well-being (Koropeckyj-Cox, 2002; Polenick et al., 2016); however, a recent study found that strain with adult children is related to better cognitive health among older parents, especially fathers (Thomas & Umberson, 2017).

Adult Children

As children and parents age, the nature of the parent–child relationship often changes such that adult children may take on a caregiving role for their older parents (Pinquart & Soerensen, 2007). Adult children often experience competing pressures of employment, taking care of their own children, and providing care for older parents (Evans et al., 2016). Support and strain from intergenerational ties during this stressful time of balancing family roles and work obligations may be particularly important for the mental health of adults in midlife (Thomas, 2016). An online free essays offers an original family relation information by the help of our professional essay writers.

Most evidence suggests that caregiving for parents is related to lower well-being for adult children, including more negative affect and greater stress response in terms of overall output of daily cortisol (Bangerter et al., 2017); however, some studies suggest that caregiving may be beneficial or neutral for well-being (Merz et al., 2010). Family scholars suggest that this discrepancy may be due to varying types of caregiving and relationship quality. For example, providing emotional support to parents can increase well-being, but providing instrumental support does not unless the caregiver is emotionally engaged (Morelli, Lee, Arnn, & Zaki, 2015). Moreover, the quality of the adult child-parent relationship may matter more for the well-being of adult children than does the caregiving they provide (Merz, Schuengel, et al., 2009).

Although caregiving is a critical issue, adult children generally experience many years with parents in good health (Settersten, 2007), and relationship quality and support exchanges have important implications for well-being beyond caregiving roles. The preponderance of research suggests that most adults feel emotionally close to their parents, and emotional support such as encouragement, companionship, and serving as a confidant is commonly exchanged in both directions (Swartz, 2009). Intergenerational support exchanges often flow across generations or towards adult children rather than towards parents. For example, adult children are more likely to receive financial support from parents than vice versa until parents are very old (Grundy, 2005). Intergenerational support exchanges are integral to the lives of both parents and adult children, both in times of need and in daily life.


Over 65 million Americans are grandparents (Ellis & Simmons, 2014), 10% of children lived with at least one grandparent in 2012 (Dunifon, Ziol-Guest, & Kopko, 2014), and a growing number of American families rely on grandparents as a source of support (Settersten, 2007), suggesting the importance of studying grandparenting. Grandparents’ relationships with their grandchildren are generally related to higher well-being for both grandparents and grandchildren, with some important exceptions such as when they involve more extensive childcare responsibilities (Kim, Kang, & Johnson-Motoyama, 2017; Lee, Clarkson-Hendrix, & Lee, 2016). Most grandparents engage in activities with their grandchildren that they find meaningful, feel close to their grandchildren, consider the grandparent role important (Swartz, 2009), and experience lower well-being if they lose contact with their grandchildren (Drew & Silverstein, 2007). However, a growing proportion of children live in households maintained by grandparents (Settersten, 2007), and grandparents who care for their grandchildren without the support of the children’s parents usually experience greater stress (Lee et al., 2016) and more depressive symptoms (Blustein, Chan, & Guanais, 2004), sometimes juggling grandparenting responsibilities with their own employment (Harrington Meyer, 2014). Always choose the best essay helper that guarantees timely delivery of essays on family relation topic. Using professional help and community services reduced the detrimental effects of grandparent caregiving on well-being (Gerard, Landry-Meyer, & Roe, 2006), suggesting that future policy could help mitigate the stress of grandparent parenting and enhance the rewarding aspects of grandparenting instead.

Gender Differences

Substantial evidence suggests that the experience of intergenerational relationships varies for men and women. Women tend to be more involved with and affected by intergenerational relationships, with adult children feeling closer to mothers than fathers (Swartz, 2009). Moreover, relationship quality with children is more strongly associated with mothers’ well-being than with fathers’ well-being (Milkie et al., 2008). Motherhood may be particularly salient to women (McQuillan, Greil, Shreffler, & Tichenor, 2008), and women carry a disproportionate share of the burden of parenting, including greater caregiving for young children and aging parents as well as time deficits from these obligations that lead to lower well-being (Nomaguchi et al., 2005; Pinquart & Sorensen, 2006). Mothers often report greater parental pressures than fathers, such as more obligation to be there for their children (Reczek, Thomeer, et al., 2014; Stone, 2007), and to actively work on family relationships (Erickson, 2005). Mothers are also more likely to blame themselves for poor parent–child relationship quality (Elliott, Powell, & Brenton, 2015), contributing to greater distress for women. Family relation topics should need to be drafted by taking an essay help that should be acute and of real interest for the wide audience. It is important to take into account the different pressures and meanings surrounding intergenerational relationships for men and for women in future research.