Thursday, May 28, 2009

Close Families Raise...More? Less? (Pick One) Independent Adults

New research at the University of Haifa found that, contrary to common belief, young adults who maintain a close or moderate relationship with their parents exhibit greater independence in their personal lives than those who have a distant relationship.

In her research, Dr. Irit Yanir evaluated how a parent-child relationship is connected to one's ability to fulfill society's expectations in terms of settling down and establishing an intimate relationship. According Dr. Yanir, a close relationship with parents is one in which children talk with their parents often and regularly spend time together (eating meals together, for example), and one in which a child feels comfortable sharing his thoughts and experiences with his parents.

"An independent young adult is one who exhibits independence not only in his day-to-day life but also in the emotional sphere, and who makes his way in life with emotional and intellectual autonomy," she explained.

While a close relationship is often viewed as a sign of dependence, the research results show that those with close relationships with their parents were more financially self-sufficient, more independent in their day-to-day lives, professionally stable, felt more mature and were more likely to be involved in a stable intimate relationship. Those who maintained a distant relationship with their parents and tended to make choices out of a need to rebel against their parents' expectations were less independent into their late 20s.

So what answer did you pick for the title question? This research is a bit counter intuitive, but fascinating nevertheless. Do you think this helps make the case for the importance of eating dinner together?