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This article uses a panel study of children and mothers to examine how parents and children conceptualize, perceive, and report on their relationships with each other during the children's transition to adulthood years. The article provides strong support for the reliability and validity of reports of parent-child relationships. The article documents generally positive and supportive relationships between parents and children, more positive relationships with mothers than with fathers, and an improvement in relationships as children mature from age 18 to 23. Further, parent-child relationships are perceived differently by parents and children in that there is not just one perception of the relationship between child and parent, but a relationship as perceived by the child and a relationship as perceived by the parent.
Data used: Intergenerational panel study: U.S.; and Birth records: U.S., 1961.