USA Today reports that a study presented at the American Psychological Association annual meeting indicates that adult kids with problems significantly effect their parents happiness and mental well being.
While I believe scientific data and research is immensely valuable, this is one of those research projects that just makes me want to say — DUH. Any parent could have given them all the anecdotal evidence theses professionals needed to come to the conclusion that parents live with every day.
The research shows that regardless of the success and well being of the rest of your kids, if you have one child who is facing significant life problems that it is likely to have a negative impact on the way you feel. The astounding finding by Kira Birditt and others at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor was that “If you think your kid [has] a problem, it is going to make you unhappy.”
I would like to explain this phenomenon to the rocket scientists who came to this most insightful conclusion. It is something we parents refer to as love. When you have a child, of any age, and they are hurting or going through a difficult time a loving parent cannot help but experience pain or emotional distress with their child.
You don’t have to interfere in your child’s life to feel this way. You can vow a hands off approach, but parents who genuinely love their children cannot help but be affected by the way their child feels. When you love someone unconditionally, like the love between a parent and child, you hurt when they hurt.
You always want to help your child, but it is possible to feel this mental and emotional anguish and allow your child to grow through the school of hard knocks. Just because you choose not to shelter your child does not mean that you will be immune from feeling bad when they are struggling. This is called parenting. It is what happens when you become a parent.
I appreciate the research that went into these findings, but frankly, as a parent, I do not need the American Psychological Association to waste time, money, and research telling me what I already know. A million parents could have told them this.
Then, perhaps, they could have spent their energy and efforts researching the best way to help adult children with problems or to cope with adult children who have chronic problems. This might provide us with useful information that we didn’t already know.
I’m interested in finding out how many of these researchers have grown kids with problems. It can’t be many or they would have known the answer without piddling away time in research.
Jayson, Sharon. Adult kids’ problems still affect parents’ mental health. USA Today