Monday, November 18, 2019
This is a serious question, although your reaction may be to think it's a tongue in cheek question. It's actually the subject of a New York Times article from a few months back. Think Your Aging Parents Are Stubborn? Blame ‘Mismatched Goals’ reports on a study of middle-aged adult kids about their views of their parents. Even the parents may refer to themselves as stubborn. But isn't this really just normal behavior when parents and their adult kids reach an impasse about something regarding the parent? "The more polite social science term for such skirmishes: mismatched goals. “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,” Dr. Heid explained. Such clashes, and related reports of stubbornness, increase when the parent and child live together, she found." Are the kids trying to be too controlling, too helpful? Are the parents not being sensible about their decisions? "These familiar, probably universal, safety-versus-autonomy debates have led some critics to object that adult children overemphasize the former, when what matters more to their parents is maintaining independence and pursuing what they find meaningful." Stubbornness has it's pros and cons, according to the article. The researcher offers some thoughts on defusing a battle of the wills: "[s]he suggests trying to equalize power in the relationship, allowing the parent to also provide support, even by just listening empathetically to a child’s account of her tough week. “It could be beneficial for the relationship to not have it all be one-sided... She’s also a fan of incremental progress, a negotiation that leads to a more reciprocal exchange." It's a very interesting article regarding a tough subject.