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Parent-Teen Conflict

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mikaela holder

on 10 January 2013

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Transcript of Parent-Teen Conflict

Parent-Teen Conflict Parent-Teen Conflict and Adolescent Difficulty Research Question:
What are the central reasons behind parent-teen conflict today? Why are adolescents so difficult to raise? Abstract:

-The purpose of my research was to dig deep into the relationships parents have with their adolescent sons or daughters.

-Key elements, which were covered in this research, are the common and fundamental reasons behind parent-teen conflict, and why conflict is so common in society today.

-Much of the report focus’s on teens and their transformation into adolescence, and how this negatively affects their relationship with their parents.

-Specifically, this paper takes the side of the parent, and argues that tension between parents and their offspring can be blamed on difficult teens.

Why is it that the teen years are so much more frustrating for parents? Why are adolescents known to be so difficult? Questions like these stump most parents who feel as though they are always in conflict with their teenage son or daughter, and although relationships among families may differ, many of the reasons for conflict among parents and adolescents remain universal. Analyzing Conflict Physical and Social Changes -Teens are faced with drastic physical and social changes as they reach early adolescence→ Such as high school, academic and social pressures, possibly harsh treatment from peers, puberty, relationships, sex, etc.

-A teenager’s body also goes through many sudden changes that may affect a teen’s irrationalism, triggering constant quarrels with their parents. Changes in the Brain -Specifically, a teen’s brain undergoes specific and dramatic development during adolescence:

→The pre-frontal lobes (which people to organize sequences of actions, think ahead and control impulses) bulk up in early adolescence before shrinking back with age.

→ At the bulking stage, there may be too many synapses for the brain to work efficiently.

→ The mental capacity for decision making, judgment and control is not mature until the age of twenty-four.

→ Therefore, teens and parents tend to be more prone to feuds at this stage because adolescents seem to make more impulsive, irrational decisions, angering adults.

→ Examples: driving under the influence, cheating on a test, ignoring the outcome and repercussions of many of their day-to-day decisions, and how they may affect others. Distance and a Lack of Communication -Many teens have problems communicating their issues to parents

-32% of 15-year-olds in Ontario reported having difficulty talking with their mothers about things that really bothered them.

-Psychologist Erik Erkison explains that the teenage instinct tends to be pulling away from their family, and developing a sense of autonomy, separate from their family.

-Teens tend to put their social agenda, and friends before their family→ they also consult their friends on matters that they use to go to their parents with. -4/5 parents who were interviewed during my personal interviews explained that their children distanced themselves from their family, and spent more time with their friends than parents during adolescence

-3/5 participants interviewed admitted that their son/daughter does not tell them about their personal life

-Many parents of teens do not understand their child’s need to assert independence during adolescence, and take their distance and lack of communication personally.

-They may often try to force their children to spend time with them, causing for frustration among both recipients, and a lack of understanding. Identity Crisis -Teens tend to be unsure about their identity, and are eager to define themselves during adolescence. One may feel a sense of worthlessness if they have not established who they are, and their role in society

-Erik Erikson explains this in his Eight Stages of Psychological Development, in the “Identity vs. Role Confusion” stage where teens are searching for a clear understanding of who they are as individuals. While at the same time filtering through the confusion that others and society say that they are or should be-Arguments with parents can often be understood in this context:

> superficial quarrels between parents and children over trivial things such as curfews, homework, and respect, actually hit a cord with teens.

>This is because a teenager's real focus is on a parent's acknowledgement of his or her’s maturity, capability and human value.

> By telling a teen that they cannot do something, doesn’t just affect their social agenda, but it implies that their parent doesn’t trust them to make their own decisions. Nagging -Basic “checking up” questions trigger major reactions in teens. -Ex: reminding a teenage son or daughter if they forgot something, like their keys, can make teens feel like they are a child again. -It implies to a teen that they are not able to look after themselves- Reminds the teen of the child-self still residing inside of him or her (since reminders like these occur during childhood) -Especially in early teen hood, this really strikes a cord with some teens because they are struggling to obtain maturity and independence. -Friendly reminders and comments may be tolerated by their friends, but when their own mother or father reminds them, teens often automatically see this as nagging, which can stir up an argument. -In light of this, 46.7% out of 15 teens in the survey I conducted felt as though their parents “were always on their case”, and only 13.3% felt otherwise. -Asserting independence and maturity seems to be a familiar theme, when related to parent teen conflict.

-Teens tend to get heated in arguments with parents because so much is at stake: they are fighting to change their relationship with their parents, to make their parents see that they are not the child the parent thinks he or she knows.

-On this note, adolescence is a constant struggle for independence, so teens have a hard time following the rules their parent’s set forth for them→ ultimately causing them to rebel.

-Adolescents are known to get involved with risky behavior (car crashes, alcohol, unprotected sex etc), more so than adults.

-Explained through social exchange theory: adolescents and adults both weigh the potential rewards and consequences of an action.

→ Adolescents seem to give more weight to rewards, particularly social rewards, than do adults.
→ Also a high emphasis on the approval of peers as a reward. Less of an emphasis on costs of parental punishment
→ Therefore, adolescents take many risks and make impractical decisions to fit in society, and be accepted socially because this is believed to be very important to them Asserting Independence and Maturity -Many teens may confuse maturity with stupidity. -This is the case when teens believe that things such as alcohol abuse, smoking and sex will qualify them as a young adult, or make them believe that they are more mature than the next teen.-Conflict with parents on this subject was proved to be one of the most common reasons for dispute

→ 40% of all recipients in my primary research survey explained that they fought most with their parents about going out (alcohol/ drug consumption, partying, and curfew), over things such as money, academics, responsibilities ect. Maturity vs. Stupidity What do you most commonly fight with your parents about? -More freedoms are granted to children as they reach their teen years, and they start to become more aware of the outside world, their bodies, and the many opportunities that lye ahead in life→ making them feel as though they have to try many new things abruptly

-Teenager’s interests also change as they are introduced to new things and people, and this might offset parents.

-Some parents will see there child as an innocent little girl or boy, so when they experiment with things such as drugs, alcohol, and sex, parents become outraged and conflict occurs.

-Parents generally then try to keep their children from doing things that are not acceptable to them, but by telling a teen that “they can’t”, or “they’re not allowed to” makes them feel isolated and childish→ causing teens to do the opposite to reassure their maturity You can't! 60% believe their parents are too controlling, 40% do not - A key factor to parent-teen conflict is the opposition of views, values, and interests between parents and their offspring. -Generational gaps between parents and children cause for dispute today more than ever:-Teens today are growing up too quickly → they are dealing with pressures that children in the past dealt with much later on in adolescence, possibly causing them to become more stressed with pressures of modern day society (emphasis on material things/money, high academic demands, unrealistic beauty). -Teens today are more superficial and selfish→ main motif is to better themselves rather than focus on interpersonal relationships (possibly with parents) Generational Clashes-Teens Today Parents Today -Parents in the past were much more strict. - It was considered normal to use physical punishment to assert their authority.-However today, physical punishment is no longer socially and lawfully acceptable→ children tend to disobey more often because punishments are less severe. -Teens today also hold more power over their parents than in the past, and it is much more common for children to do as they please and receive what they want. -Teens believe that their parents are supposed to love them regardless of their behavior→ causing teens today to take their parents for granted. -This new modern concept causes resentment among parents who maybe grew up in a time period with different norms and treatment of family members. -Parents today may see their child as spoiled and selfish, and may grow to resent them because of this, causing for dispute. In conclusion, this report supports the notion that adolescents are the main perpetrators of parent-teen conflict today. Although this is not the case for everyone, most teens prove to be unstable and difficult in their early teen years, making them a tough housemate to reason with. With this considered, it is safe to assume that adolescent difficulty is more commonly responsible for parent-teen conflicts, especially those in the 21st century. It is undetermined whether or not this trend will continue into the future, but I predict that the perfect parent-teen relationship is virtually an impossible dynamic to attain. Canmediate Ruth Surman
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