Research Says Worrying About Your Children Never Stops

Research shows that worrying about our kids doesn't end when they are grown.Research shows that worrying about our kids doesn’t end when they are grown, with parents saying they still worry about their adult children.

I’ve always said that my last breath will be my last worry when it comes to my son. Research now supports this, and shows that even when your children have left the nest, you worry about them like you did when they were in your care. A study in The Gerontologist shows that many older adults who have grown children still have worries and concerns about their adult children, and these concerns even affect their sleep patterns.

Related: How My Children Save Me From Myself

Lead Author, Dr. Amber J. Seidel, of Penn State York looked into the feelings of parents with adult children, investigating the relationships that family members have and those relationships effects on society. Dr. Seidel says that there is lots of information that focuses on family life where children are younger, but she believes that family-influence and concern don’t end when the children have flown the nest.

The research looked at data from 186 married couples who were in their late 50s and had two to three adult children, on average. They were asked about types of support they gave their adult children, including practical help with financial issues as well as day-to-day emotional support in general. They were also asked to decide how stressed they were when it came to helping their adult children, as well as how often they found themselves worrying about their adult children.

The researchers looked at the sleep each study participant got, finding that mothers slept approximately 6.66 hours per night, while fathers slept about 6.69 hours a night. They determined that there was a correlation for the fathers between the support they gave their children and poorer sleep, and that fathers seemed to sleep better when they answered that their wives gave the support to their children. Mothers’ sleep seemed to not differ based on the support given to their children, but was found to be poorer when they were going through higher stress situations with their children. Incidentally, the stressful situations with children didn’t seem to have an effect on the fathers’ sleep patterns.

Related: Biggest Dangers To Children: Then and Now

Dr. Seidel found that fathers were more affected when they gave support to their children, whether practical or emotional, while mothers seemed to be more affected by the stress of the support. She believes that this is indicative of how involved parents are with grown children today, as research is showing that more and more ‘helicopter parenting’ and/or ‘landing pad children,’ is happening.

With social media as evolved as it is, it’s still far more easy for parents to be involved in their adult children’s lives than ever before, knocking that ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ mentality for a loop.

In an interview with CBS, Seidel said that the key to this information is not eradicating stress of life, but to ensure that there are healthy coping methods parents are using when worrying about their children, particularly so their immune systems are not suppressed. More, she suggests that parents look at whether the parental involvement they have with their children is truly beneficial, or more enabling or trying to control their child. This examination could go a long way for healthier relationships for both parents and children.

She plans to look into more research that will show how parents and their adult children can have relationships in which all areas of health and happiness are examined for positive outcomes.


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