A new study has found a role reversal between parents and their young adult children when it comes to marriage.
In a surreal sort of twist, the results also mirror a maternal conversation Oprah Winfrey had with Justin Bieber earlier this week.
Let’s start with the study:
It found that college students are apparently more eager to marry than their parents think they should be.
The Brigham Young University researchers asked 536 college students from across the nation and their parents what age they thought was ideal for marriage. The students answered 25.
The parents? Older than 25.
(The researchers did not include BYU students in the survey. If they had, it might have skewed the results lower, since Mormons tend to marry earlier and about a quarter of the BYU student population is already married.)
“The assumption has been that the younger generation wants to delay marriage and parents are hassling them about when they would get married,” said Brian Willoughby, the lead author of the study in an accompanying commentary. “We actually found the opposite, that the parental generation is showing the ‘slow down’ mindset more than the young adults.”
Meanwhile, almost simultaneous to the study’s release, Oprah aired her interview with Bieber when the 18-year-old pop music sensation mentioned that he hoped to be married by 25.
“Rethink that, will ya?” Oprah responded, according to CNN, before going on to explain that the 20s should be a time for self-exploration.
It was sort of like art mirroring life. Or, at least pop art mirroring life.
In any case, the report also found that both parents, mothers and fathers, side with Oprah.
Researchers said parents usually put the “right age” at at least a year older than their child. The driving force tended to be that the parent wanted their child to complete his or her education first.
There is little research that suggests there is an ideal age for marriage, though the trend in this country has been steadily creeping up. According to the Census, the median age for first marriages is currently 27.
Do you think there’s a right age for marriage? Have you talked with your kids about it?