The Ties That Bind: Midlife Parents’ Daily Experiences With Grown Children

Daily pleasant or stressful experiences with grown children may contribute to parental well-being. This diary study focused on midlife parents' (N=247) reports regarding grown children for 7 days. Nearly all parents (96%) had contact with a child that week via phone, text, or in person. Nearly all parents shared laughter or enjoyable interactions with grown children during the study week. More than half of parents experienced stressful encounters (e.g., child got on nerves) or stressful thoughts about grown children (e.g., worrying, fretting about a problem). Pleasant and stressful experiences with grown children were associated with parents' positive and negative daily moods. A pleasant experience with a grown child the same day as a stressful experience mitigated effects of those stressful experiences on negative mood, however. The findings have implications for understanding intergenerational ambivalence and stress buffering in this tie.