Mixed emotions in late life : older parents' experiences of intergenerational ambivalence Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/xs55mg57v

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  • Interviewing eighteen older parents (aged 65 and older) with two or more children for this project established support for the emotional experience of intergenerational ambivalence. Seventy-five parent-child relationships were discussed. Two major themes arose over what healthy, independently living parents feel ambivalent about in their relationships with their midlife children. The first theme focused on how parents simultaneously felt sadness and pride about the busyness of their children's lives. In some respects, parents sensed themselves left out of their children's everyday life, yet they accepted these feelings with a gratified knowledge that their children were functioning adults in society. The second theme of intergenerational ambivalence that surfaced from the interviews was the issue of respecting and negotiating boundaries around spheres of influence. Parents oscillated between positive and negative feelings and thoughts about the appropriateness of offering advice to children. Parents shared conflicted thoughts about stepping back, allowing their children to live their own lives even if they disapproved of certain aspects of it. A few parents shared situations when they felt they did interfere and overstepped their right to comment on their children's life decisions. This theme centered around four issues: financial matters, core beliefs of politics and religion, romantic partnerships, and parenting styles. This study also examined management strategies parents used to sort out and think through complex feelings and thoughts about their midlife children. A contribution this project gives to the emergence of intergenerational ambivalence as a theoretical concept of study in parent-child relations over the lifecourse is the experience of older mothers and fathers. I found no evidence parents experienced qualitatively different emotions because of their gender. Instead, the underlying experience of intergenerational ambivalence was very similar for mothers and fathers. From the results presented in this study, mixed emotions seem to be a natural and normative experience in late life. Older parents experienced ambivalence on a psychological level. Conflicting inner thoughts and mixed emotions resulted from everyday interactions and conversations with midlife children.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Brian Davis(brian.davis@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-08-06T21:45:56Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 PetersCherylL2004.pdf: 569948 bytes, checksum: 0caf07a0cea4340e3b38be8733233003 (MD5)

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