Mothers most likely to quarrel with grown-up daughters

May 6th, 2009 - 4:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 6 (IANS) A majority of parents and adult children seem to be at loggerheads. Now a new study has narrowed it down, saying parents are more likely to quarrel with daughters than with sons, while adult chil;dren were more likely to quarrel with mothers than fathers.
The study also found these quarrels were likely to upset the parents more than they upset the children.

“The parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting social ties human beings establish,” said Kira Birditt, study co-author and researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).

“This tie is often highly positive and supportive but it also commonly includes feelings of irritation, tension and ambivalence,” Birditt added.

Birditt and colleagues at Purdue and Pennsylvania State universities analysed data on 474 parents and adult children who were at least 22 years old.

The adult children lived within 50 miles of their parents. African-Americans made up a third of the sample and the rest were European Americans.

The researchers asked about tensions related to a variety of topics, including personality differences, past relationship problems, children’s finances, housekeeping habits, lifestyles, and how often they contacted each other.

According to Birditt, tensions may be more upsetting to parents than to children because parents have more invested in the relationship. Parents are also concerned with launching their children into successful adulthood.

Both mothers and fathers reported more tension in their relationships with daughters than with sons. Daughters generally have closer relationships with parents that involve more contact which may provide more opportunities for tensions in the parent-daughter tie.

Both adult sons and adult daughters reported more tension with their mothers than with their fathers, particularly about personality differences and unsolicited advice, said a Purdue release.

“It may be that children feel their mothers make more demands for closeness,” Birditt said, “or that they are generally more intrusive than fathers”.

The study will be featured in a forthcoming issue of Psychology and Aging.

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