Norms of filial obligation do not necessarily serve to support ageing parents

There might be a worldwide agreement that children are obliged to provide care to their elderly parents. However, the manner in which this value manifests itself is rather diverse in different countries.

Researchers analyzed the circumstances in which the financial, emotional or instrumental help is given to the parents by their children across European countries. The study used data from the generations and gender surveys conducted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, France and Norway.

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Norms or values: What causes estrangement between mothers and adult children?

Nowadays, we observe a strong and rewarding relationship between children and their parents; the generational conflict such as the one seen in the sixties and seventies of the last century seems to have vanished. Nevertheless, the quality of relationships can suffer under tensions caused by different values and norms. A study in the US state of Massachusetts researched mother-child dyads and looked more intensively at 64 mothers who reported estrangement from at least one of their children. The authors defined the relationship as estranged when mothers reported on having no contact with the child – either face-to-face or via telephone – in the last month, or having contact of any type but less than once a month.

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Children’s time use and family structure in Italy

Single parents have a legitimation problem: besides the fact that most of them are economically disadvantaged, they have always to state that they are as good a family and can care as good for their children than do families with both parents. An Italian group within the FamiliesAndSocieties project analyzed if children with a single parent read and study less or more than those with both parents, using data for the Italian Time Use Survey.

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