Compared with elderly parents and adult children in five other industrialized nations, Americans are twice as likely to have “disharmonious” relationships, a new multinational study has found. And we’re correspondingly less likely to have “amicable” relationships marked by strong affection and relatively free of conflict.
A study was done on the relationships between elderly parents and their adult children in six different countries. The study found that Americans are more likely to have bad relationships with their adult children compared to other countries, while the English reported having the most friendly relationships. The researchers think that social policies and cultural values affect these relationships. For example, in countries where the government doesn’t support elderly people, families have to take care of each other, which can cause problems. Also, cultural differences play a role, with some countries being more open about their feelings than others. The study also found that mothers are usually closer to their children than fathers, and daughters are closer to their parents than sons.
New York Times-Family Relations: An International Comparison, PAULA SPAN