Accessibility links


Poll: Many Parents, Adult Children in Daily Contact

  • Jessica Berman

More parents and their grown adult children in the U.S. are in daily contact by telephone or texting than ever before. That’s according to a recent survey on the emergence of adolescents making the transition to adulthood.

Out of 1,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 29, James Arnett, a psychology professor at Clark University in Massachusetts, says a whopping 55 percent of parents and their adult children say they are in daily contact, or almost daily contact, either by telephone or texting.

“That’s remarkable. I think compared to when you and I were kids, I think that’s just a revolution," said Arnett.

Arnett, who conducted the poll last year of parents and emerging adults of all social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, says growing up in today’s environment and economic climate is fraught with all sorts of anxieties as older children are entering adulthood. And this, in turn, has made it more difficult for parents to let go.

The tether is reinforced, says Arnett, to comparisons parents make to the time when they grew up. Arnett says many parents perceive that their adult children are achieving milestones at a slower pace.

“They are sort of evaluating their own kids on the basis of the timetable they followed when they were young, and often it doesn’t match up. Their kids generally take longer to complete their education, longer to find a stable job, longer to marry, longer to have their first child. And so to parents, operating on the old timetable seems delayed when it’s really not by contemporary standards," he said.

One of the things that has made it easier for daily communication between parents and adult children, according to Arnett, is technology. Billions of people around the globe now own and use cellular phones, making it possible to talk or text via long distances.