Chapter 4: Families Is there Emotional Distance Between Teens and Parents? Contrary to stereotypes, adolescents and parents usually get along very well. ● Most teens ○ Feel close to parents ○ Respect parents judgment ○ Feel loved by parents ○ Respect parents as individuals ● No systematic studies demonstrate that family problems are any more likely to occur during adolescence than at other times in the life span ● Most research indicates that among that 25% of teenages and parents who report having problems, about 80% had problematic relations during childhood ● Unfortunately, parents who believe in the stereotype that adolescents are difficult are more likely to have more negative relationships with their adolescent ● Known as a self - fulfilling prophecy ○ An expectation that is realized because parents act in ways that make it happen The Generation Gap: Fact or Fiction? - Most people believe that adolescents and adults hold different values and attitudes, a phenomenon known as the Generation Gap, and that this is a constant source of parent-adolescent conflict (PAC). - This is not the case - Parents and teens have similar beliefs about fundamental values and attitudes (religion, work and education) - When there ARE sharp differences in opinion, they tend to revolve around matters of personal taste ( style of dress, music preferences, leisure activities), which is more transitory and subject to peer influence. What do Parents and Teens Fight about? ➔ Mundane Issue: curfews, leisure time, activities, clothing, cleanliness of their rooms… ➔ According to Smetana (2000); a major contributor to PAC is the fact that teenagers and their parents define the issues of contention very differently ➔ Parents view many issues as matters of right and wrong - not necessarily in a moral sense, but as matters of custom or convention ➔ Adolescents, in contrast, are likely to define these same issues as matters of personal choice
Why do Parents and Teens Fight about? ➔ Rebels with Cause ◆ Contrary to stereotype, adolescents rarely rebel for the sake of rebel ◆ Accept parents’ rules when they agree that the issue is a moral one ● Whether to cheat on a test ◆ Less inclined to accept their parents’ authority when they view the issue as personal ● What to wear to a party ➔ Rather than resisting all of their parent’s rules (the stereotype that many people have of teenagers) adolescents draw distinctions between ◆ Rules that they think their parents have a right to make (safety) ◆ Rules that they think are out of bounds (personal choice) ◆ Ex: having to let their parents know what time you will be home after going out versus having to keep your bedroom orderly ➔ Violation of Expectations : Collins (1990) term that describes changes in children’s and parent’s expectations for each other during adolescence.
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