Some researchers define coresidence of adult children and their older parents as an indicator of closeness and relationship quality. Adult offspring and their older parents, however, live together for many reasons (e.g., financial needs, health issues). Findings about adult children sharing a residence with older remarried parents and stepparents have been mixed, with some researchers reporting that adult children were less likely to live in a remarried parent’s home than were children whose parents had remained married when they were young (Aquilino, 1991b; Pezzin et al., 2008; Seltzer et al., 2013). Others found that coresidence was less likely with remarried fathers and more likely with remarried mothers (Szinovacz, 1998), with still others reporting no differences in residence sharing of adult stepchildren and individuals from first-marriage families (White & Rogers, 1997).
Sharing a residence is only one example of closeness between older remarried parents and their adult children Vinick and Lanspery (2000) reported that older stepmothers work hard at maintaining good relationships with their stepchildren. Women generally are involved in what is called kin keeping—maintaining relationships with extended family members, smoothing disagreements among kin, and making sure that relationships are amicable. Because of these kin keeping activities, remarried mothers and stepmothers develop different relationships than fathers and stepfathers do, and their relationships with adult children differ from those of fathers and stepfathers as a result Schmeeckle, 2007) . Schmeeckle (2007) reported that older stepmothers’ kinkeeping was instrumental in children maintaining ties with nonresidential fathers when they were young, and these practices continued into the children’s adulthood and affected relationship closeness, not only among stepfamily household members but also with children’s nonresidential parents. Although stepmothers were kinkeepers, parents and stepparents, regardless of sex, served as relationship gatekeepers for their own kin and invested more energy and resources into their own children than stepchildren.