Young Adults’ “Need”: In the Eye of the Beholder?
This discussion of Fingerman and colleagues’ chapter on relationships between young adults and their parents probes the notion of young adults’ need for support from their parents and families. We illustrate Settersten’s point that our culture treats the transition to adulthood as a “private trouble” for families to manage on their own by contrasting conceptions of young adults’ versus children’s needs for family assistance in child welfare policy and policies for vulnerable populations of young adults. We offer evidence of how parents’ perceptions of need are shaped by offspring behavior and evidence of the connection between parental assistance and broader family dynamics. These factors make relations between parents and young adults a fascinating intersection among social change, social structure, and the agency of the parties involved. It remains to be seen whether and how these norms, our policies, and the lives of young adults will evolve in coming decades.
KeywordsYoung Adult Foster Care Vulnerable Population Parental Support Intergenerational Exchange
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