“Mismatched Goals” Cause Conflict Between Adult Children, Aging Parents.

August 30, 2019

The New York Times (8/30, Span) reported researchers are examining the causes of what adult children often perceive as “intransigent behavior” by their aging parents. In several studies directed by gerontologist Allison Heid, stubbornness was a “widespread complaint” among the middle-aged children of older adults. The social term for these conflicts between adult children and their parents is “mismatched goals.” Dr. Heid explained, “If the goal is not shared – the older adult wants to walk to the grocery store himself and the child says, ‘I don’t think it’s a good idea’ – that’s when conflict can arise.” Heid’s research found that “such clashes, and related reports of stubbornness, increase when the parent and child live together” as well as “when a parent’s disability increases.” Heid said, “When a child steps in, most commonly there’s a safety issue,” but, “The parent may not share those feelings about their capabilities.”

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Last modified on 09/10/2019

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