Skip to comments.Divorce can predict child's future day-to-day care for aging parents
Posted on 09/17/2007 8:09:48 AM PDT by qam1
Washington, Sept 17: According to a study done by Temple University researcher Adam Davey, Ph.D., the impact of marital disruptions like divorce, remarriage etc can foretell whether a child would provide more involved care to parents in the future or not.
The changes caused by a divorce that took place 30 years ago can have long lasting effects on the mind of the child, claimed Davey.
In particular, divorce predicted that an adult child would be less involved in the day-to-day aid for the aging parents, in future.
"It's not the divorce itself that affects the quality of the parent-child relationship, but it's what happens afterwards such as geographical separation," said Davey, a gerontologist who studies trends in the baby boomer generation and other aging issues.
Davey scrutinised data from 2,087 parents, aged 50 and above, who gave reports on their 7,019 adult children in the National Survey of Family and Households.
"Marital transitions affect families in a number of ways," Davey said.
"They can interrupt the relationship of support between a parent and child, and the evidence suggests that the continuity of support by parents and to parents matters," he added.
The study also reported that early marital commotion in a child's life can be less detrimental to the relationship, than those which occurred in adulthood.
The results suggest that both the type of changeover and the time of its occurrence in the child's life are important.
A father's early remarriage makes it more likely that the child will provide help later in life, but the same transition occurs when the child has reached adulthood the chances of a child helping the father become less.
Also, if the child spends more time with the divorced mother, the chances of providing assistance to the mother when she is old, are more, Davey said.
Astonishingly, it was found that both mothers and fathers are only half as likely to get support from a non-biological child.
"Society does not yet have a clear set of expectations for step-children's responsibility," Davey said.
Contradictory to the findings, this does not mean these potential effects damage the parent-child relationship as a whole, Davey said.
While marital transition doesn't seem to cause irretrievable damages to the support that children provide to parents in later life, it does disrupt the needs and resources of both generations.
"Given how common marital transitions have become, and how complex families have become as a result, it's surprising that the effects aren't even more pronounced." Davey added.
The findings have appeared in Advances in Life Course Research.
Why are we astonished at this?
“Divorce can predict child’s future day-to-day care for aging parents”
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My parents are divorced, if my dad fell ill it would be difficult for me to be involved in his day to day care, unless I moved him up to where I live... something I doubt he would want. My mother lives close by.
If my father did not fight me relocating him here, I would have no qualms being as active as I could in his care... when he is 600 miles away however, this makes this sort of involvement much more difficult if not impossible.
I think many assume that the government takes care of the elderly.
Why would anyone personally help strangers in their old age?
You reap what you sow!
Well, gee, we’re headed for an anything-goes world. On the express train to who-gives-a-crapshoot. Remember, anything you do, all you have to say is, “oops, sorry” and be done with it.
Why are we astonished at this?
Because we live in an age where people think that everything is the same, everything is equal.
Example: Two homosexuals = an hetrosexual couple
Her kids = my kids
“Half as likely” means that there are some non-biological children (what, are they robots?) who are caring for their step-parent or adoptive parent. The observations of the study are intuitively obvious, but they’re generalizations, not descriptive of every case.
I hear ya. What about kids who don’t know who their parents are?
Studies and polls are amusing sometimes, but I take it with skepticism, like my horoscope...
They weren't part of this study :-).
If they are talking about children that were adopted at birth or shortly thereafter, I would find it astonishing that there is such a disparity in level of support.
Yup. I love that new buzzword/phrase: “marital transition”.
No more divorce or separation, or even marriage. :D
I’m sure my sister and brother (OK, half-) would help my/”our” father.
When 6, they asked him on getting married if they could call him “Daddy”.
Some step parents are much better than the parents.
God bless your father. He must be a good Dad.
Here is an odd point.
My two sisters have five living children. I can bet my right arm that if I needed help, four of those five would be at my side.
If the mothers needed help. I would bet none of the kids would help them. Maybe one, big maybe. And the one who wouldn’t help me, sure wouldn’t help his mother. He is as selfish as she is.
So much for the “me” generation. They reap what they have sown.
The next line in the article mentions step-children, so I think that's what they mean.
He is. :) And my siblings, as it were, don’t ever have anything to do with “real dad”. Never have.
You sound like one of my step-brothers regarding their bio-father.
As Mom said, “a sick, cheating, abusive bum”, and my siblings couldn’t have cared much less whether he was there or not.
I have positively no plans to take care of my father's wife.
Thanks for the ping.
It’s more than just divorce. It’s spiritual rottenness. Spiritually rotten parents are less likely to get lots of attention from their kids as elder folk. Sometimes it’s even a role reversal, where the kids were more mature and responsible than the parents by the time they were in their late 20s.
Not a huge surprise.
Even with both my divorced parents living within 20 miles of me, I’m not sure what I would do.
My father’s wife is 10 years younger than him, and they have their own family and support structure now. My mom has her own life, boyfriend and friends.
I’m not sure some of the people in their life would even want me butting in to take care of them. I’m part of the old family that is politely not spoken of with the new spouses and significant others.
And knowing that your mother is PRO-ABORTION changes the child/parent bond also.
My parents divorced when I was 13 and my sister was 11.
My sister, a little over a year ago, sold her dream house, bought my dads house, remodeled it and added an apartment over the garage (it’s a luxury apt at that) for him to live in. He will never have another bill again.
She is an excellent daughter!
So that’s what they’re calling it these days.<<
It’s a perfectly legitimate expression which was coined to encompass ALL forms of role-changes in marriages (e.g.: death of a spouse, divorce with subsequent geographical separation, divorce without geographical separation, remarriage, etc.).
The study didn’t restrict its scope to divorce.
I don’t believe that the authors of the study were attempting to “sneak in” a (liberal) value judgement.
It’s just a handy term to use.
My parents dumped me when I was 18. Dad told me to either get a job and move out or go to College and move out so they can start their partying.
30 years later, after they have literally drunk themselves into mindless blathering, my folks now want me to take care of them. I put this task on my brothers who are both alki’s along with my parents.
Sorry, but when you kick me out of your lives, don’t expect met to be the good son and give up my life and my kids lives who are in College to provide care when you don’t bother to write, call, or drop in but once every 5 years.