According to the new AARP The Magazine Generations Study, we boomers talk more frequently with our young-adult children, plus spend more face time and share more intimate confidences with them, than we did with our parents. We also help our kids more, doling out about twice as much advice and practical help as parents did in the mid-1980s.
And we've justified it.
Coming of age during economic hard times, many of our kids are struggling to find jobs, to find themselves, to find their way out of their childhood bedrooms. When we keep our kids close, do we keep them from growing up?
Jeffrey Arnett, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, suggests that young people ages 18 through 29 go through a new stage of life he calls emerging adulthood — a period of searching and self-discovery when people make the choices that will define their adult lives.
Young people face a more complicated job landscape than their parents did, he argues: Modern fields like computer technology offer greater choice, but they also require more education. Young people also have a wealth of options in their personal lives, facing fewer strictures about marriage and sexuality. Parental support and advice, when it's available, can be invaluable.