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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Reading Notes.odt

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Diane Glebe

READING NOTES Chapter 4: FAMILIES Is Conflict Between Teenagers and Parents Inevitable? The Generation Gap: Fact and Fiction • Most people believe that adolescents and adults hod different values and attitudes, a phenomenon known as the generation gap, and that this is a constant source of difficulty for young people and their parents ◦ However, this is not the case • Although there is not much of a generation gap when it comes to core values, there is often a gap between the generations in matters of personal taste, most clearly evident in styles of dress, music preference, and patterns of leisure activity What Do Adolescents and Parents Usually Fight About? • Studies find that they squabble about things like teenagers' curfews, leisure activities, clothing, and cleanliness of their rooms (White people) • In China, conflict issues regard schoolwork, household chores, and choice of friends • Why do parents and teenagers argue over such mundane matters? ◦ 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 ▪ Amother who disapproves of her daughter's outfit says, “People just don't dress that way to go to school.” The daughter responds, “You wouldn't dress this way for school, but I do.” • Rebels With a Cause ◦ Adolescents are willing to accept their parents' rules as legitimate when they agree that the issue is a moral one, or one involving safety, but they are less inclined to accept their parents' authority when they view the issue as personal Recap • Although popular books for parents of teenagers present adolescence as a problematic time for the family, the notion that a wide gap exists between the generations in fundamental values is largely a myth • When parents and adolescents disagree, it tends to be over mundane, day-to-day issues, not over major values or priorities • Many disagreements between parents and teenagers stem from the different perspectives that they bring to the discussion: The same issues that parents see as matters of right or wrong may be seen by adolescents as matters of personal choice • Conflict between parents and children may increase in early adolescence because adolescents change their perspective on many issues that they had previously viewed as ones their parents has legitimate authority to regulate Family Relationships atAdolescence A Time of Reorganization and Change • According to family systems theory, relationships in families change most dramatically during those times when individual family members or the family's circumstances are changing, since it is during these times that the family's previously established equilibrium will be upset The Adolescent's Parent at Midlife • Because most people have their first child around 40, most parents are in their early 40s when their first child enters early adolescence • This can be a difficult time for many adults, a time of midlife crisis ◦ Apsychological crisis over identity believed to occur between the ages of 35 and 45, the age range of most adolescents parents • Midlife Meets Adolescence ◦ Biological changes ▪ At the same time that adolescents are entering into a period of rapid physical growth, sexual maturation, and ultimately, the period of life span that society has labeled one of the most physically attractive, their parents are beginning to feel increased concern about their own bodies, about their physical attractiveness, and about their sexual appeal ◦ Time and the future ▪ At the same time that adolescents are beginning to develop the capability to think systematically about the future, their parents are beginning to feel that the possibilities for changes in their own lives are limited ◦ Power and status ▪ Adolescents is the time when individuals are on the threshold of gaining a great deal of status • Their careers and marriages like ahead of them, and choices may seem limitless • For their parents, many choices have been made – some successfully, other perhaps less so • Most adults reach their “occupational plateau” - the point at which they can tell how successful they are likely to be – during midlife, and many must deal with whatever gap exists between their early aspirations and their actual achievements • The Mental Health of Parents ◦ One study found that two-thirds of mothers and fathers described adolescence as the most difficult stage of parenting and several studies have found this period in the family life cycle to be a low point in parents' marital and life satisfaction Changes in Family Needs and Functions • One of the most important changes is financial, with family finances likely to be strained during adolescents • Children grow rapidly during puberty, and clothing for adolescents is expensive • The financial demands placed on parents in the “sandwich generation” (that is, sandwiched between their adolescent children and their aging parents) require considerable adjustment • Different expectations between immigrant parents and teenagers are a significant source of stress for adolescents and parents alike, especially when the adolescent is more Americanized and the parents are less, a phenomenon known as generational dissonance Transformations in Family Relations • Changes in the Balance of Power ◦ Studies of family interaction suggest that during early adolescence, young people begin to try to play a more forceful role in the family, but parents may not yet acknowledge adolescents' input ◦ Increases in assertiveness and influence of adolescence ◦ One finding to emerge from research on brain maturation is that young adolescents are especially sensitive – perhaps overreactive – to the emotional signals given off by others • The Role of Puberty ◦ During puberty, bickering between adolescents and their parents increase as closeness between adolescents and their parents diminish • Violations of Expectations ◦ Research indicates that early adolescence is a time of changes in youngsters' views of family relationships and in family members' expectations of each other ◦ In a study finding, with age, the gap between adolescents' actual and ideal portraits widened, indicated that as they become older, adolescents became more aware o their families' shortcomings – in comparison to what they believed a perfect family was like Sex Differences in Family Relationships • In general, differences between the family relations of sons and daughters are minimal • In ethnic groups and cultures, adolescents tend to relate to and are closer to their mothers ◦ Interestingly, adolescents tend to fight more with their mother and perceive them as more controlling but this does not appear to jeopardize the closeness of the mother- adolescent relationship • Fathers may be used for objective information such as help with homework Family Relationship andAdolescent Development • One nine-year longitudinal study found that adolescents' and parents' negative feelings toward each other had a reciprocal relationship over time – the more negative adolescents felt, the more this led to negative feelings on their parents and vice versa Parenting Styles and Their Effects • Diana Baumrind – Two aspects of parent's behaviour toward the adolescent are critical: ◦ Parental responsiveness refers to the degree to which the parent responds to the child's needs in an accepting, supportive manner ◦ Parental demandingness refers to the extent to which the parent expects and demands mature, responsible behaviour from the child ▪ Some are warm and accepting, while others are unresponsive and rejecting ▪ Some are demanding and expect a great deal of their child, while others are permissive and demand very little Four Styles of Parenting • Parents who are both responsive and demanding are authoritative parents ◦ They are warm but firm ◦ They set standards for the child's conduct but form expectations that are consistent with the child's developing needs and capabilities ◦ They place a high value on the development of autonomy and self-direction but assume the ultimate responsibility for their child's behaviour ◦ They deal with their child in a rational, issue-oriented manner, frequently engaging in discussion and explanation over matters of discipline ◦ They strive to raise a child who is self-reliant and has a strong sense of initiative • Parents who are very demanding but not responsive are authoritarian parents ◦ They place a high value on obedience and conformity ◦ They tend to favour more punitive, absolute, and forceful disciplinary measures ◦ Verbal give-and-take is not common in authoritarian households because the underlying belief is that the child should accept without question the rules an standards established by the parents ◦ They tend to not encourage independent behaviour and instead, place importance on restricting child's autonomy • Aparent who is very responsive but not at all demanding is an indulgent parent ◦ They behave in ways accepting, benign, and somewhat more passive way in matters of discipline ◦ They place few demands on the child's behaviour, giving the child a high degree of freedom to act as he or she wishes ◦ They are more likely to believe that control is an infringement on the child's freedom that may interfere with healthy development ◦ Instead of actively shaping their child's behaviour, indulgent parents are more likely to view themselves as resources for the child ◦ Indulgent parents tend to be especially concerned with raising a happy child • Parents who are neither demanding or responsive are indifferent parents ◦ They try to do whatever is necessary to minimize the time and energy they must devote to interacting with their child ◦ In extreme cases, indifferent parents may be neglectful ◦ They know little about their child's activities and whereabouts, show little interest in their child's experiences at school or with friends, rarely converse with their child, and rarely consider their child's opinion when making decisions ◦ Rather than raising their child according to a set of beliefs about what is good for the child's development, indifferent parents structure their home life primarily around their own needs and interests • The Power of Authoritative Parenting ◦ Research on the link between what parents do and how adolescents turn out present findings that are amazingly consistent ◦ Generally, young people who have been raised up in authoritative households are more psychosocially mature than peers who have been raised in indulgent, authoritarian, and indifferent homes ▪ They are more responsible, self-assured, creative, intellectually curious, socially skilled, and academically successful ▪ Adolescents raised in authoritarian homes are more dependent, more passive, less socially adept, less self-assured and less intellectually curious ▪ Adolescents raised up in indulgent households are less mature, less responsible and less conforming to their peers ▪ Adolescents raised up in indifferent homes are often impulsive and more likely to be involved in delinquent behaviour and precocious experiments with sex, drugs, and alcohol • 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting ◦ What You Do Matters ◦ You Can Not Be Too Loving ◦ Be Involved in Your Child's Life ◦ Adapt Your Parenting to Fit Your Child ◦ Establish Rules and Set Limits ◦ Help Foster Your Child's Independence ◦ Be Consistent ◦ Avoid Harsh Discipline ◦ Explain Your Rules and Decisions ◦ Treat Your Child With Respect • HowAuthoritative Parenting Works ◦ First, authoritative parents provide an appropriate balance between restrictiveness and autonomy, giving the adolescent opportunities to develop self-reliance while providing the sorts of standards, limits, and guidelines that developing individuals need ◦ Second, because authoritative parents are more likely to engage in their children in verbal give-and-take, they are likely to promote the sort of intellectual development that provides an important foundation for the development of psychosocial maturity ◦ Third, because authoritative parenting is based on a warm parent-child relationship, adolescents are more likely to identify with, admire, and form strong attachments to their parents, which leaves them more open to their parents' influence ◦ Fourth, the child's own behaviour and temperament may play a role in shaping parenting practices Ethnic Differences in Parenting Practices • In general, researchers find that authoritative parenting is less prevalent among Black, Asian, or Hispanic families than among White families • Authoritative parenting is beneficial for all ethnic groups • Research also indicates that authoritarian parenting is more prevalent among ethnic minority among White families • Authoritar
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