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decorative star graphic  Adulthood:
Psychosocial Development
- Family Dynamics -

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Ψ  Being the “generation in the middle”,  middle age adults are the cohort bridge between their children & their parents.
Ψ  Contemporary family members are more supportive of each other, with less trouble & tension, when they live apart.
Ψ  Kinkeeper: the person who celebrates family achievements, gathers the family together and keeps in touch with family members who no longer live nearby; they maintain the links between the generations.
Ψ  Familism: the idea that family members should support each other because family unity is more important than individual freedom and success; stronger among ethnic minority groups than among the white majority.

Ψ  Generally, ongoing grandparent-grandchild relationships take one of three forms:

  1. Remote: typical of American grandparents a century ago, grandparents who are distant but who are honored, respected and obeyed by the younger generations in their families.
  2. Involved: grandparents who remain active in the everyday activities of their grandchildren, typically living in or nearby the grandchildren’s household.
  3. Companionate: grandparents whose relationships with their children & grandchildren are characterized by independence and friendship, with visits occurring by the grandparents’ choice; most grandparents today – they can maintain autonomy and independence.


Ψ  Surrogate parents:  the role some grandparents play for their grandchildren due to their children’s extreme social problems; grandparents take over the work of raising their children’s children; if the relationship is the result of a legal decision that the parents were abusive or neglectful, it becomes kinship care.

Ψ  Throughout adulthood, marriage is the family relationship that seems most closely linked to personal happiness, health & companionship.

Ψ  After a dip in the first decade or so, marital happiness gradually increases. Several reasons have been suggested for this improvement: the greater financial security of families at the empty-nest stage, the increasing sense of equity in the relationship, and increased time for shared activities once the children have left home.

Ψ  Most divorced people remarry within 5 years of being divorced.

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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