Stability and Change in Older Mothers’ and Fathers’ Parenting of Adult Children: Results from the Last Quarter of the 20th Century
Roseann Giarrusso, California State University, Los Angeles
Du Feng, Texas Tech University
Has the “parenting” of adult children changed over the last quarter of the 20th century? Based on the life course perspective, both socio-historical context and biographical change should influence parenting over time. We use data on older Anglo-American parents from the Longitudinal Study of Generations, a unique data set that yields two innovative designs: (1) a generation sequential design that compares two cohorts of middle-aged, and two cohorts of elderly, mothers and fathers across socio-historical time, and (2) a long-term longitudinal design that examines middle-age mothers and fathers across 26 years of biographical time. The generation sequential design revealed that the socio-historical context in which parenting took place influenced the types and levels of parental involvement. The long-term longitudinal design showed that parental involvement changed across biographical time. The implications of these findings for the life course theoretical perspective and for the scholarship on late life parenting are discussed.