I often wonder if my parents still do this, even though all five of the kids they raised are grown up and out of the house.
And now I have an answer.
A study published in The Gerontologist Journal shows many older parents worry about their adult children as much as they did when they were raising them as youngsters.
It also found that there was a correlation between sleep quality and parents worrying about their adult children.
It makes sense when you think about it: when kids are raised by their parents, mom and dad are always home and around the children. It’s when the kids leave the house to go out into the world for college or a job that mothers and fathers begin to experience more worry and stress due to uncertainty and not being in close proximity to their sons and daughters at all times.
Amber J. Seidel of Penn State York, the leader of the study, said:
“I feel that many share this value, yet I think much of the socialization in our culture focuses on the family when children are younger. I seek to study topics that help us understand how family continues to be a central part of our lives throughout adulthood, and I encourage considering family-level influences in all situations.”
The study is obviously more reflective of parents in the West and in Europe, as it is more common for children to live with their parents longer in the East. In the U.S. and Europe, children are pushed toward independence at a younger age.
Seidel ended the study by encouraging parents to consider the type of relationships they have with their adult children because the level of involvement they have with their kids and how much support they offer them affects parents’ sleep cycles. The questions Seidel thinks parents should ask themselves include, ‘Are you enabling your child by rewarding lazy or destructive behaviors?’, ‘Are you trying to control your child in any way?’, ‘Or are you simply letting your adult child live their life while providing unconditional support?’
Asking and contemplating these questions can lead to a more transparent relationship between parents and adult children.
Hey, adults who are out of the house, your parents are most likely worried about you and wondering what you’re up to, so check in once in a while.
Call your mother.