Giving to the Good and the Needy: Parental Support of Grown Children

Parents may provide many types of support to their grown children. Parents age 40 to 60 (N = 633) reported the support they exchange with each child over age 18 (N = 1,384). Mothers and fathers differentiated among children within families, but provided emotional, financial, and practical help on average every few weeks to each child. Offspring received most assistance when they (a) had greater needs (because of problems or younger age) or (b) were perceived as more successful. Parents received more from high achieving offspring. Findings support contingency theory; parents give more material and financial support to children in need. Motivation to enhance the self or to assure support later in life may explain support to high achieving offspring. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]