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Adult Parent-Child Relationships Around The World

Adult Parent Child Relationships

Adult parent-child relationships can be challenging at times, but also very rewarding.  I read an intriguing article this morning about adult parent-child relationships.  I hadn’t thought about how this could be different across other countries.  The differences and similarities really made me think.

Of course, it doesn’t say anything about cultures with less influence from Western civilization, like African or Asian countries.  But still, this comparison will take your mind out of the box a little bit. Think about your own adult parent-child relationships as you read about what I found.

Adult Parent-Child Relationships Compared In Six Countries

This study covered the countries of England, Germany, Israel, Norway, Spain, and the United States.  In the United States, only about half of parents thought they got along with their adult children fairly well.  Plus, the US had the highest amount of relationships with strong negative emotions and a lack of positive ones.  England seemed to have the most positive emotions and least conflict.

Just having a lack of conflict didn’t imply that all parents felt close to their adult children.  Older parents in Germany appeared more detached than parents from other countries.  Israel had an interesting mix – they had strong negative and positive feelings for their adult children overall.  Kind of a passionate blend of conflict and love.

Cultural Questions About Family Relationships and Values

So all this makes me wonder what cultural aspects influence this relationship the most in each country.  What does each culture value more – lack of conflict, independence, harmony, passion?  This study just scratches the surface, I’m sure.  Makes me also wonder about what is considered to be normal and ideal in each country.

Perhaps detachment in Germany is seen as fairly typical and not a problem to be fixed.  In the United States, conflict in families seems pretty common.  Maybe not desired, but something a lot of people have experienced.  I don’t mean to make wide-sweeping judgments from a few comments in an article.  It’s just good to reconsider your definition of normal sometimes.  Read this article for yourself if you want to see their exact findings.

What About Your Adult Parent-Child Relationships?

So now I’d like to hear from you.  How well do you get along with your adult parents, either now or in the past?  Or, consider your relationship with your adult children.  Are you more conflictual, more detached, or warm and relatively free of conflict?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Yoni Lerner

Adult Parent-Child Relationships Around The World

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2016). Adult Parent-Child Relationships Around The World. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 23 Aug 2016
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