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Families. Parent-Adolescent Conflict. Issues to Focus on…. Why is there a marked increase in parent-adolescent conflict? What do parents & adolescents argue about? How often do they argue? Cultural Differences?. “ Storm & Stress ”. Increased emotional & physical distancing from parents

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Parent-Adolescent Conflict

Issues to focus on
Issues to Focus on…

  • Why is there a marked increase in parent-adolescent conflict?

  • What do parents & adolescents argue about?

  • How often do they argue?

  • Cultural Differences?

Storm stress
Storm & Stress”

  • Increased emotional & physical distancing from parents

  • Conflict increases at early adolescence and decreases by 18

  • Adolescents report more conflict than parents

  • Conflicts usually over everyday issues – dress codes, chores, sibs

  • Typically not intense or volatile & not indicative of major problems

  • Mother/daughter conflicts more frequent than other dyads

  • Small minority (5-10%) of families experience serious problems

How often do parents and adolescents argue
How often do Parents and Adolescents argue? chores, homework, getting along with siblings

  • Conflict between parents & adolescents relatively frequent chores, homework, getting along with siblingswith a distinct increase in conflict from early to mid-adolescence

  • Conflicts decline over adolescence…in part due to decline in amount of time spent with parents

  • What are other reasons that would explain decline in conflict?

Two major caveats
Two Major Caveats… chores, homework, getting along with siblings

  • Much of this research conducted on children already in adolescence

    …What happens before they

    enter adolescence?

  • The majority of research on parent-adolescent relationships conducted on White, middle class, two-parent families.

    …What about families from different

    ethnic and cultural backgrounds?

Cultural differences in parent child relationships
Cultural Differences in Parent-Child Relationships chores, homework, getting along with siblings

  • Both African-American & Latino families encourage family interdependence vs. independence (de-emphasize autonomy)

  • Both families emphasize obedience, dignity, and respect toward elders and parental authority (Garcia Coll et al., 1995)

  • Latino adolescents feel it is inappropriate to argue with or talk back to parents (Fuligni, 1998)

Parent adolescent conflict in context
Parent-Adolescent Conflict In Context chores, homework, getting along with siblings

  • Parent-adolescent conflict more frequent in White, middle-class families than in Mexican American families (Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1996)

  • Less conflict reported by African American and Hispanic families than in Caucasian families (Barber, 1994)

  • Different belief systems do exist, but no differences in actual conflict

    (Fuligni, 1998)

More recent findings on conflict
More Recent Findings on Conflict chores, homework, getting along with siblings

  • Contrary to previous findings in conflict literature, conflict did not significantly increase over time

  • Conflict frequency and intensity similar across ethnic groups

Respect for parental authority
Respect for Parental Authority ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Significant ethnic group differences

  • Girls’ respect for parental authority did not significantly change over time

Respect for Parental Authority ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Association between mother-reported conflict intensity and respect moderated by ethnicity at both time points

Conclusions ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Respect is a salient issue for children and parents

    • Parent-child conflict

    • Ethnic/Cultural differences

    • Both in childhood and adolescence

  • Respect is differentially experienced by families of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds

  • Respect may be associated with ‘Americanization’ phenomenon in immigrant families



  • Authoritarian Parenting Pattern

    -Controlling – using standard set of rules

    -Stress Obedience

    -No “give-and-take”

    -May use physical punishment


  • Authoritative Parenting Pattern

    -Explain & discuss rules & expectations

    -Maintains firm control

    -Set high standards

    -Encourage independence

    -Respectful of child’s point of view


  • Indulgent parents behave in an accepting, benign, and somewhat more passive way

  • Indifferent parents try to minimize the time and energy that they must devote to interacting with their child

Limitations ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Limited to white, middle-class families

  • Not generalizable to families across different cultures

  • Does not take into account surrounding environment…ex: growing up in dangerous neighborhoods, cultural expectations, etc.

  • Some characteristics cut across categories…ex: discussion of rules not limited to authoritative parents

Children of authoritarian parents
Children of Authoritarian Parents ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Tend to lack social competence

  • Look at outside figures in making moral decisions

  • Lack spontaneity and intellectual curiosity

Children of authoritative parents
Children of Authoritative Parents ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • More self-reliant and self-controlled

  • More willing to explore

  • More content

  • Better academic achievement

  • Lower problem behaviors

Children of indulgent parents
Children of Indulgent Parents ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • Relatively immature

  • Difficulty controlling impulses

  • Difficulty accepting responsibility for social actions

  • Lack independence

Limitations of baumrind s theory
Limitations of Baumrind ETHNIC GROUPS?’s Theory

  • Correlational

  • Biased toward white, middle-income/class

  • Is “style” stable?

  • Children’s later perceptions

Are ideal parenting styles the same for all cultures
Are ETHNIC GROUPS?‘Ideal’ Parenting Styles the same for ALL Cultures?

  • Authoritative parenting is less prevalent among African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic-American families than among white families

  • Beneficial effects are found for all ethnic groups

Are ideal parenting styles the same for all cultures1
Are ETHNIC GROUPS?‘Ideal’ Parenting Styles the same for ALL Cultures?

  • Authoritarian parenting more common among ethnic minority families

  • Negative child outcomes not same as with White families with same parenting style

Further research
Further Research ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • disciplinary parenting behaviors differentially experienced by families of differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds

  • African American and Latina mothers consistently endorse more restrictive, disciplinary parenting practices than European American mothers

    • But still nurturing

Discussion… ETHNIC GROUPS?

  • If more recent research is focusing on cultural differences with respect to parenting patterns, why does all of the current day literature still list AUTHORITATIVE parenting as optimal?

  • Ongoing debates in Parenting research & literature