Yascha Mounk and Joshua Coleman discuss how the nature of family life has shifted in recent decades.
If Coleman's admission that "the majority of parents today say they feel closer to their adult children than they believe their parents felt to them" had been the lede instead of being buried near the end, it would have been a much different interview. Exaggerating problems to where it blinds us to the progress we've made is one of the main reasons so many people are convinced that everything sucks and it's only getting worse, why they become convinced that extreme and undemocratic ideologies are what's needed to fix it.
Intrigued by your comment re friendships in US and Europe. I recently read the novel GREY BEES by Ukrainian writer, Andrey Kurkov. I was repeatedly struck by how often characters asked others for help in large and small ways and how the help was almost invariably granted. As an American, this seemed admirable but sort of amazing. Asking a friend to pick up medication at 2 am? I wouldn't even ask my adult daughter (who lives 1 mile away and with whom I have a good relationship) to do that. Interesting.
Perhaps there is a generational issue. My boomer parents would definitely say they feel closer to us, then their parents felt to them. However, that's the issue. When someone is distant and not asking much from you, then there is no reason to cut them off. But if is somebody is sucking the life out of you, by being emotionally exploitative, (mental health issues) then you feel more need to cut them off. My grandparents may not have been as friendly as my parents, but they asked for far, far less of their children.
Yes, she would, but the point is I would not ask. Kurkov's characters were not shy about asking, which is what impressed me.
It seems as if there is too much focus on the form of relationships rather than the substance. We used to be too enmeshed and too trapped, now we're too lonely and anxious. We humans are never going to get it exactly right - but I do think being able to choose with whom we associate gives us a much greater chance of developing relationships based on substance rather than form.