Parents Still Lose Sleep Worrying About Their Adult Children


You don’t need a study to tell you that parents worry about their kids. And if you are a parent yourself, you know from experience how many sleepless nights you’ve spent worrying about your children.

 

Your worries might vary from what are they going to eat tomorrow and if they will pass their school tests to their success further in the future, like their college degree, job search, and marriage.

 

However, if you are an adult, and your parents are still calling you to make sure you eat well, or you are home safe – you are not alone.

A new study suggests that parents not only worry about their children when they are young, but they continue to worry about them even when they are past their adolescent age and are well-formed adults. Moreover, the reasons behind this worry differ from men to women.

 

Amber J. Seidel, Ph.D., of Penn State York in Pennsylvania, is the researcher behind this study. And the reason why she decided to do it is that she firmly believes in the importance of family relationships: their support and love.

 

“I feel that many share this value, yet I think much of the socialization in our culture focuses on family when children are younger,” she said for CBS News. “I seek to study topics that help us understand how family continues to be a central part of our lives throughout adulthood, and I encourage considering family-level influences in all situations.”

 

“I seek to study topics that help us understand how family continues to be a central part of our lives throughout adulthood, and I encourage considering family-level influences in all situations.”

 

The study included 186 heterosexual married couples with two or three adult children. On average, the men were about 58 years old, and the women close to 57.

The parents were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 8 (1 – daily; 8 – once a year) the different types of support they provide their adult children with. The types of support included: emotional support, companionship, discussing everyday events, practical help, and financial support.

 

Furthermore, the parents had to rate the stress level of having to support their adult children, and how much time they spent on worrying about them on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 – not at all; 5 – a great deal).

 

Additionally, the researchers investigated the amount of sleep the parents got at night. They found that the fathers slept about 6.69 hours on average, while the mothers slept for 6.66 hours.

 

The results from the study showed that fathers tended to lose sleep when they were worried about the support they provided their adult children with. On the other hand, they slept more when their wives were the ones providing their children’s support.

 

This issue was not important to the women’s quality of sleep. For the mothers, the stress of having to provide support for their children affected their sleep.

 

All in all, the results of the study are that the mere act of giving support is what troubled the men while stressing over the support is what afflicted the women.

 

Seidel converses that the reason behind this may be because of how much involved parents are in their adult children’s lives nowadays. In today’s era of smartphones and technology, parents are able to get closer insights on their children’s whereabouts and what is going on in their lives. They become more curious about their children’s lives and thus more concerned and stressed.

 

In today’s era of smartphones and technology, parents are able to get closer insights on their children’s whereabouts and what is going on in their lives. They become more curious about their children’s lives and thus more concerned and stressed.

 

Regardless of the reason, high-stress levels can cause negative consequences on the person’s physical and emotional well-being.

 

According to Seidel, the problem is not that we are stressed in our lives; the problem is that sometimes we are not able to deal with it accordingly, which leads to immune suppression.

 

Parents can help themselves to overcome the stress by changing their eating habits to healthier choices, exercising more, spending time in nature, and so on. Also, they need to choose the level of involvement they will have in their grown children’s lives.

 

They need to ask themselves if they are providing their children with the right things: Are they supporting them by believing in them, or by controlling them constantly and stressing over any minor issue?

 

What are your thoughts on this? Do you worry about your adult child constantly? If you do, what do you worry about? And, how do you think that affects your child?


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