Parenting projects as children transition to adulthood

Sheila K. Marshall, Anat Zaidman-Zait, Corinne Logan, Celine M. Lee, Richard A. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This investigation describes the joint goal-directed series of actions, or projects, of 20 parents whose children were entering adulthood. Data were collected over an eight-month period using the qualitative action-project method. Data included joint parent-youth conversations, video recall interviews, and self-report logs. Detailed within-case analysis of the elements, functional steps, and goals revealed the parenting project each parent was engaged in. Comparing across cases, similar parenting projects were grouped together into three sets: (a) striving for child-environment fit: forecasting, coordinating, and assessing; (b) pressing for acceptable change: stepping back or stepping up; and (c) separating: adjusting relations and managing emotions. These descriptive findings illustrate the complexity of parenting during the transition to adulthood and how parenting projects are jointly constructed between parents and young adult children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-261
Number of pages12
JournalFamily Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • parenting
  • qualitative action project method
  • transition to adulthood
  • youth


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