Parenting Adolescents and Young Adults

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					Parenting Adolescents and Young Adults
Adolescence: early adolescence: 12 to 18; late adolescence: 18-

A period of storm and stress? Rebellion, tension, conflict,
emotional turmoil? A period of increasing autonomy and
personal responsibility? Hazardous?

A period of rapid physical and psychological change: body
proportions, physical size, sexual maturation, personality shifts

A period of individual emancipation in preparation for

Parents: teens still need guidance, rules and support at the
same time they need increasing freedom to individuate

The healthy family system: non-negotiable rules are agreed
upon; negotiable rules permit latitude for individual
differences. Differences are tolerated even though they may
not be appreciated; more authoritative, more permissive in
some ways, less authoritarian; parents and teens make fair and
reasonable decisions jointly, everyone’s needs are respected

The Needs of the Adolescent
   Health and Safety: kids need annual visit with doctor
   Substance abuse: 2/3 use alcohol regularly; ¼ use
    marijuana; authoritative parenting increases
    internalization of values; strong parental stands on such
    issues make a difference
   Suicide: second leading cause of death among individuals
    15 to 21, the rate tripling in the last 30 years, mostly white
    females. Profile: depressed, hopeless, substance abuse,
    sexual orientation
   Pregnancy and STDs: pregnancies declining slightly;
    STDs that are common: syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia,
    herpes, warts, and HIV: 3 million new cases annually
    among adolescents
   Providing structure/nurturing: see table 10-1. Goal:
    detached involvement
   Promoting Individuation: Identity vs. Role confusion

Gordon, in Parent Effectiveness Training, suggests that
children will “fire” their parents when the parents are trying
to change some strongly held beliefs and values. The list of
issues that parents give to the children: school work, styles of
hair or clothing, bedtime, eating habits, bathing, keeping her
room, his outings, who the friends are, how allowance is spent,
sexual behaviors, smoking and drinking. Can you add
anything else to, or update, the list?

So what is a parent to do when he or she feels strongly about
the above issues? Model appropriate behaviors; serve as a
consultant; accept what he or she cannot change.

Developmental tasks for younger adolescents

   Physical maturity: height spurt, breast and testes and penis
    growth, pubic hair, menarche, earliest pregnancy at 14,
    nocturnal emissions, mature sperm at 15, maturation of
    skeletal system

   Formal operations: introspection, integration of
    information, focused planning, generating hypotheses,
    logical reasoning, more effective problem solving, follow a
  sequence of steps to task completion, ability to think in
  relativistic ways about self, others, and the world

 Emotional development: increased emotional complexity;
  identifying, understanding and expressing a wider range of
  emotions; expansion of one’s capacity for empathy with the
  emotional states of others; greater openness to experience
  and interpersonal adaptability; increase in
  internalizing(anxiety and depression, somatic disorders,
  eating disorders) and externalizing (aggression, rule-
  breaking) problems

 Membership in peer group: increase in cliques,
  frameworks for frequent interactions at school and in
  neighborhoods; emphasis on loyalty; high variability in the
  stability of cliques throughout high school; crowds are
  large groups recognized by their predominant
  characteristics: athletics, academics, future goals, race,
  class, special talents, deviant behaviors, or general
  alienation from school. Designated crowds include
  floaters, regulars, populars, middles, jocks,
  nerds/unpopulars, preps, brains, partyers, druggies, loners,
  skateboarders, misfits/alternatives; 20% of adolescents
  don’t identify with any subculture; close friendships in
  middle school are related to the likelihood of romantic
  relationships in adolescence

 Romantic and sexual relationships: dating, feelings of love
  and deepening commitments increase; gender identity and
  sexual orientation are formulated; formation of sexual
  scripts that conform to peer expectations; relationships
  meet four needs: affiliation, attachment, caregiving, and
  sexual gratification; the earlier the first intercourse, the
  more likely that the act is to be a part of a profile of high-
  risk behaviors; the later the first intercourse, the more it is
     related to a planned aspect of the deepening commitment to
     an ongoing relationship; eleventh grade is the normative
     turning point at which more than 50% of both boys and
     girls report having had intercourse

Developmental Tasks for Older Adolescents

   Autonomy from parents: the ability to regulate behavior
    and select decisions without undue influence from or
    dependence on parents; moving toward independent living;
    ability to express opinions and beliefs that differ from
    parents; Differentiation: the extend to which a social
    system encourages intimacy while supporting the
    expression of differences; secure attachment is necessary
    for growth toward independence; leaving home: when is it
    time to go? How does leaving home affect the P-C
    relationship?; role experimentation; introspection;
    decentering from family to construct an identity separate
    from parents

   Gender identity: the set of beliefs, attitudes and values
    about oneself as a man or woman in many areas of social
    life; social roles are culture bound and differentiated by
    gender; males as more instrumental, achievement oriented,
    autonomous and assertive; females as more expressive,
    interpersonally oriented and more caring; distinguishing
    between ‘borrowed standards’ and authentic roles for self;
    sexual orientation emerges often in late adolescence;
    failure to disclose or to continue to pass as heterosexual is
    associated with strong feelings of isolation and self-
    repudiation; college population tends to set social trends by
    according more variety and less rigidity to gender-linked
    role expectations; the non college population sets
  employment trends by breaking down barriers in male-
  dominated areas of work

 Internalized morality: internalized parental standards and
  values may be accepted or revised in late adolescence; one
  defines himself/herself as a moral being whose actions have
  implications for the well-being of others; moral identity is
  defined with the three elements of knowledge or judgment,
  caring and action; post-conventional level of moral
  reasoning: rules and laws preserve human rights and social
  order within a cultural context, which can be altered as the
  norms change; exposure to a diversity of information,
  relationships and worldviews stimulates moral reasoning
  and moral behaviors.

 Career choice: sets the tone for one’s early adult lifestyle;
  determines daily routine, conditions for both immediate and
  long term rewards; occupation confers social status and
  provides opportunities for advancement; work experiences
  in early adolescence may be negative or positive, related to
  pay, skills, decision-making opportunities, number of
  hours, stimulation, alienation from social life; six factors
  that influence career choice: individual factors,
  psychosocial emotional factors, situational factors,
  socioeconomic factors, familial factors and societal factors;
  phases of career decision-making: exploration,
  crystallization, choice, clarification, induction, influence,
Parent and Young Adult Child Relations

Early adulthood (25-45 years)

Erikson’s psychosocial tasks: intimacy vs. isolation;
generativity vs. stagnation

What dependencies continue between yourself and your
parents at this point in time? Would you consider your
present relationship “distinctly adult in nature”?

Issues related to this stage of parenting
    Prolonged dependency; overinvolvement and/or enabling
     by the parents; contributions of the adult child: fear of
     assuming responsibility, substance abuse, fear of failure,
     lack of motivation to leave the comforts of home; adult
     children of dysfunctional families, i.e. ACOA; toxic
     relationships resist change: who will find the courage to
     promote change?
    Functioning as a renested family; recognizing the
     ambivalence from both the parents and the adult child;
     making rules that work for everyone; what issues would
     you have with your parents if you moved back home after
     graduation from college? What issues would they have
     with you?
    Grandparenting: not like it used to be! Possible roles:
     being more tolerant, providing nurturing, teaching
     values, providing backup support, mediation between
     parents and children, acting as an equalizer in the family
     system; styles of grandparenting noted on page 211:
     surrogate parent, remote, fun seeker, reservoir of family
     wisdom, formal; styles of grandparenting are mediated
     by several factors: age, gender, physical proximity,
  ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational level;
  personality, divorce, step-grandparenting
 The Sandwich Generation: parents may be caught
  between their needs to parent their adult children and to
  take care of their elderly parents; caregiver burnout;
  women as kinkeepers; elder abuse