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A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action
A. RAE SIMPSON, PH.D.
Project on the Parenting of Adolescents Center for Health Communication Harvard School of Public Health
This project was supported by a grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action
A. RAE SIMPSON, PH.D.
Project on the Parenting of Adolescents Center for Health Communication Harvard School of Public Health
This project was supported by a grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Copyright © 2001 by A. Rae Simpson and the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Permission is granted for the not-for-profit reproduction and distribution of this report or portions thereof, provided that (1) proper copyright notice is affixed to each copy, and (2) the Center is notified of such use.
Simpson, A. Rae (2001). Raising Teens: A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action. Boston: Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health.
Copies of this report can be obtained by contacting:
Center for Health Communication Harvard School of Public Health 677 Huntington Avenue, Suite 329 Boston, Massachusetts 02115 Telephone: 617/432-1038 Fax: 617/731-8184 Email: email@example.com
Copies are also available on the Internet at:
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/chc/parenting Also available from the web site and from the Center are copies of Dr. Simpson's previous report, The Role of the Mass Media
in Parenting Education, published by
the Center in 1997.
Center Director This project was supported by a grant from The John D. and Catherine T.D.D. Winsten. MacArthur Foundation . Ph. RAE SIMPSON. PH. Project on the Parenting of Adolescents Center for Health Communication Harvard School of Public Health Jay A.Raising Teens A Synthesis of Research and a Foundation for Action A..
Definitions.Table of Contents Report Summary Purpose and Goals The Ten Tasks of Adolescence The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents Recommendations for Future Work 4 4 6 7 12 Report Background The Need The Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents Methods. and Assumptions 15 16 22 24 Principles and Context The Ten Tasks of Adolescence 29 31 TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents 1 Love and Connect 2 Monitor and Observe 3 Guide and Limit 4 Model and Consult 5 Provide and Advocate First Do No Harm 47 49 52 56 59 62 65 Recommendations for Future Work References Acknowledgments 69 79 94 3 RAISING TEENS .
Report Summary Purpose and Goals This report has been written to heighten media and public attention to both a crisis and an opportunity. organizing them into frameworks that quickly and simply capture the main points. an unprecedented body of research has been accumulating about the powerful ways in which parents and families make a difference in the lives of teens. and families. and policy makers in building better supports for the next generation. serving as a tool for the collective efforts of teens. schools. so that they. mental illness. our own. the media. The hope is that the added information will have a ripple effect. While initiatives are needed at all levels. MacArthur Foundation. and Catherine T. The crisis is that. professional groups. we often lose sight of one of the groups that can and most wants to help teens: their parents. communities. The goal of this report is to make this new body of research findings on the parenting of adolescents more accessible RAISING TEENS and useful to those who work with and on behalf of parents. REPORT SUMMARY Therein lies the opportunity: In recent years. and individual characteristics and circumstances. and other sources that profoundly jeopardize their futures— and. One of the most striking aspects of this crisis is how little we have involved parents as part of the solution. Prepared within the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health with funding from the John D. the report identifies findings that are well established and practical. but rather of providing additional information that parents can integrate with their own values. substance abuse. religious leaders. 4 . let alone parents themselves. can make it more accessible and useful to parents. from community development to policy change. cultural perspectives. little of that knowledge has been reaching the media. parents. policy makers. adolescents. poverty. hence. by almost any measure. inadequate education. They are offered not in the spirit of telling parents what to do. in turn. Yet. abuse. and practitioners. families. neglect. America’s teenagers are facing risks from violence.
• The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents: an outline of the central ways in which parents influence healthy adolescent development. including those in the news and entertainment media. What does the report contain? The report provides a synthesis of major research findings on the parenting of adolescents. These highlights can be found in the next pages of this “Report Summary. Based on an analysis of over 300 recent reviews of research and practice. a source of ideas. the report distills these findings into short. as quick background information. community development. The report’s contents are Highlights of the report include: • The Ten Tasks of Adolescence: a list of the developmental tasks that teenagers need to undertake in order to make a successful transition to adulthood. and many other fields.For whom is the report written? The report is written for all those who work with and on behalf of parents. and complete references are in the full report that follows. clear summaries and messages that can be conveyed designed to be used flexibly. 5 RAISING TEENS . further details. health care. education. • Strategies for Parents: a set of research-based options for carrying out each of the Five Basics. youth work. advocacy. business. and a catalyst for further initiatives. • Key Messages for Parents: one or two sentences capturing the bottom line for each of the Five Basics. It is not specifically intended for parents. it is intended for those whose roles as intermediaries include providing support and information to parents of adolescents or facilitating efforts to do so. with an emphasis on findings that have achieved widespread agreement among leaders in the field. adolescents. REPORT SUMMARY to parents and others in parenting roles.” The foundation and principles on which all these findings are based. and families. parenting education. policy. although their readership will be very much welcomed. Rather.
teens typically develop a more complex understanding of moral behavior and underlying principles of justice and care. 2. as well as learning to manage the accompanying biological changes and sexual feelings and to engage in healthy sexual behaviors. in which. having learned to “put themselves in another person’s shoes. Meet the demands of increasingly mature roles and responsibilities 10. and belief systems to guide their decisions and behavior. 6 . Teens typically undergo profound changes in their way of thinking during adolescence. Related to all these dramatic shifts. problem solving. Although the task of adolescence has sometimes been described as “separating” from parents and other caregivers. learning to acquire the skills and manage the multiple demands that will allow them to move into the labor market. physical attributes.” they learn to take into account both their perspective and another person’s at the same time. teens are involved in acquiring new abilities to think about and plan for the future. Identify meaningful moral standards. Adjust to sexually maturing bodies and feelings Teens are faced with adjusting to bodies that as much as double in size and that acquire sexual characteristics. allowing them more effectively to understand and coordinate abstract ideas. Develop and apply abstract thinking skills 3. values. and to think about emotions in abstract ways. Form friendships that are mutually close and supportive 8.The Ten Tasks of Adolescence* 1. and citizenship. with the emphasis on each depending in part on the family’s ethnic background. They tend to shift from friendships based largely on the sharing of interests and activities to those based on the sharing of ideas and feelings. to engage in more sophisticated strategies for decision making. and conflict resolution 5. 6. Another part of this task is developing a positive identity around gender. as well as to meet expectations regarding commitment to family. to think about possibilities. but crucial aspects of identity are typically forged at adolescence. and to use this new ability in resolving problems and conflicts in relationships. Develop and apply a more complex level of perspective taking REPORT SUMMARY 4. pages 29–46. Their task also includes establishing a sexual identity and developing the skills for romantic relationships. questioning beliefs from childhood and adopting more personally meaningful values. Identity formation is in a sense a lifelong process. and belief systems Building on these changes and resulting skills. religious views. sexuality. Develop and apply new coping skills in areas such as decision making. Renegotiate relationships with adults in parenting roles * See Principles and Context. community. to think ahead. to understand the emotions of others in more sophisticated ways. if appropriate. and to moderate their risk taking to serve goals rather than jeopardize them. to try out hypotheses. problem solving. and ethnicity and. it is more widely seen now as adults and teens working together to negotiate a change in the relationship that accommodates a balance of autonomy and ongoing connection. and to construct philosophies. with the development of mutual trust and understanding. for details and references. to think about thinking. as well as sensitivity to the diversity of groups that make up American society. having been adopted. Also related to these changes are shifts for teens toward an ability to identify and communicate more complex emotions. and conflict resolution. Although youngsters typically have friends throughout childhood. Establish key aspects of identity 9. Teens gradually take on the roles that will be expected of them in adulthood. Understand and express more complex emotional experiences RAISING TEENS 7. including developing an identity that reflects a sense of individuality as well as connection to valued people and groups. teens generally develop peer relationships that play much more powerful roles in providing support and connection in their lives. Teens typically acquire a powerful new ability to understand human relationships.
and accomplishments. perspectives. ideas. and deepening intellectual thought. respect. pages 47–64. for your teen in the family. one on one and as a family. skills. for details and references. Love and Connect Teens need parents to develop and maintain a relationship with them that offers support and acceptance. can offer new ways to connect. RAISING TEENS Acknowledge the good times Expect increased criticism Spend time just listening Appreciate and acknowledge Provide meaningful roles Spend time together Key Message for Parents: Most things about their world are changing. jobs. interests. stereotypes. * See The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents. Don’t let your love be one of them. vitality. and debate. humor. and appreciation for your teen. his or her past. such as community volunteering. to your teen’s thoughts and feelings about her or his fears. 7 REPORT SUMMARY Treat each teen as a unique individual . Strategies for Parents Watch for moments when you feel and can express genuine affection. while also taking advantage of ways in which new activities. each teen’s new areas of interest. schoolwork. distinct from siblings. and strengthen your skills for discussing ideas and disagreements in ways that respect both your teen’s opinions and your own.The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents* 1. as well as the positive aspects of adolescence generally. such as its passion. ones that are genuinely useful and important to the family’s well-being. continuing some familiar family routines. while accommodating and affirming the teen’s increasing maturity. activities. strengths. and relationships. made possible by your teen’s personality and growth. or your own past. concerns.
and it still counts. observing. and networking with others who come into contact with your teen. after-school activities. weight loss. observation. family. matching the challenges to your teen’s ability to handle them. including relationships involving parental figures. Evaluate the level of challenge Key Message for Parents: Monitor your teen’s activities. peers. RAISING TEENS Seek guidance if you have concerns about these warning signs or any other aspect of your teen’s health or behavior. such as neighbors. consulting with teachers. and emotional abuse. religious leaders. sexual. Monitor your teen’s experiences in settings and relationships inside and outside the home that hold the potential for physical. shopkeepers. back-to-school nights. directly or indirectly. siblings. partners. You still can. and networking with other adults. a drop in school performance and/or skipping school. problems with eating or sleeping. through a process that increasingly involves less direct supervision and more communication. family and tribal elders. teachers. peer relationships. serious and persistent conflict between parent and teen. and activity leaders. Monitor and Observe Teens need parents to be aware of—and let teens know they are aware of—their activities. extended family. such as parent-teacher conferences. Strategies for Parents Keep track of your teen’s whereabouts and activities. 8 . or high levels of anxiety or guilt. including school performance.The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents 2. and jobs. promiscuity. physicians. and other parents. who are willing and able to let you know of positive or negative trends in your teen’s behavior. running away. media exposure. withdrawal from friends and activities. Keep in touch with other adults Involve yourself in school events Stay informed about your teen’s progress REPORT SUMMARY Learn and watch for warning signs of poor physical or mental health. teachers. including lack of motivation. as well as the level and nature of outside activities. parenting educators. and special needs planning meetings. religious and community leaders. counselors. unexplained injury. work experiences. such as social events. and others. employers. as well as signs of abuse or neglect. caregivers. drug use. in school and employment. get to know your teen’s friends and acquaintances. and recreation. adult relationships. of proposed teen activities. by listening. counselors.
RAISING TEENS 9 REPORT SUMMARY . not for venting or taking revenge.” upholding some non-negotiable rules around issues like safety and central family values. and sexually responsible behavior. but also encouraging increased competence and maturity. for teaching.3. that are high. but realistic. Guide and Limit Teens need parents to uphold a clear but evolving set of boundaries. maintaining important family rules and values. but don’t let go. while negotiating other rules around issues like household tasks and schedules. and ignore smaller issues in favor of more important ones. such as drugs. Communicate expectations Choose battles Use discipline as a tool Restrict punishment Renegotiate responsibilities and privileges Key Message for Parents: Loosen up. in response to your teen’s changing abilities. turning over some areas to the teen with appropriate monitoring. school performance. Strategies for Parents Maintain family rules or “house rules. to forms that do not cause physical or emotional injury.
health habits. including through participation in household tasks. and spiritual issues. Strategies for Parents Set a good example Express personal positions around risk taking. teens still care. about social. that you would like your teen to have. skills. employment. and emotional control.The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents 4. and interpreting and navigating the larger world. and lifestyle choices. interests. and employment that develop their skills. Model the kind of adult relationships Answer teens’ questions Maintain or establish traditions Support teens’ education in ways that are truthful. to practice reasoning and decision making by asking questions that encourage them to think logically and consider consequences. and sense of value to the family and community. goals. political. 10 . about future options and strategies for education. Model and Consult Teens need parents to provide ongoing information and support around decision making. teaching by example and ongoing dialogue. and vocational training. while providing safe opportunities to try out their own ideas and learn from their mistakes. including family. outside activities. moral. REPORT SUMMARY Help teens get information Give teens opportunities RAISING TEENS Key Message for Parents: The teen years: Parents still matter. cultural. while taking into account their level of maturity. and/or religious rituals. values. including issues of ethnicity and gender.
approach to diversity. taking into account such issues as safety. 11 RAISING TEENS Key Message for Parents: REPORT SUMMARY Make similarly informed decisions . including care for mental illness. and the match between school practices and your teen’s learning style and needs. but also a supportive home environment and a network of caring adults. Provide and Advocate Teens need parents to make available not only adequate nutrition. and treatment. guidance. community involvement. among available options for schools and educational programs. and social services to identify resources that can provide positive adult and peer relationships. clothing. religious organizations. opportunities for peer relationships and mentoring. Strategies for Parents Network within the community as well as within schools. training. family. community cohesion. in handling parental responsibilities and in understanding the societal and personal challenges in raising teens. and youth programs. among available options for neighborhoods. shelter. but you can add to and subtract from it. and health care. Make informed decisions Arrange or advocate for preventive health care Identify people and programs to support and inform you You can’t control their world.5. and activities for your teen. social climate.
Recommendations for Future Work
Conduct media initiatives to disseminate widely the bottom-line messages on parenting adolescents about which there is widespread research agreement.
This report is a source of ideas for creating positive, research-based messages about parenting teens within informational, advertising, and entertainment media. Next steps include supporting the media in adapting and expanding on the ideas in this report and others like it. Particularly needed are well-designed, ongoing, multifaceted, collaborative campaigns that tap a variety of media to convey positive information about raising adolescents to a broad diversity of parents and others in parenting roles.
Build further consensus among researchers and other leaders in the field regarding what is known about parenting and adolescence.
There is much more common ground to be explored within the research on parenting adolescents. Options include delving deeper into specific subtopics such as: • • • Further strategies for common parenting dilemmas Brain development in adolescence Abuse of adolescents Parenting of troubled adolescents Preparing for adolescence Portrayal of parent-teen relationships in the news and entertainment media Each of these topics is ripe for a project to bring together leaders, identify points of agreement, and disseminate major findings to the media, professionals, policy makers, and parents.
• • •
Make available to the media and parents more “parent-friendly” versions of existing information on adolescent development and its implications for parenting.
In particular, parents need (1) a “dictionary” that translates teen behaviors into developmental terms, (2) “ages and stages” guides to the major developmental milestones of adolescence, comparable to the information available to parents of young children, and (3) more information about the implications of cultural diversity for raising adolescents.
Strengthen informational resources—such as clearinghouses, family support centers, schools, special initiatives, and parenting programs—that will allow parents, the media, practitioners, advocates, religious leaders, policy makers, and others better access to current knowledge on parenting adolescents.
As we gather existing research findings and generate new knowledge on parenting adolescents, a stronger infrastructure is needed for disseminating that information to parents and professionals. Critical steps include creating a national clearinghouse of parenting information, as well as strengthening and expanding existing local resources.
We have an opportunity to revolutionize the way in which we, as a society, think about parenting, in particular the parenting of adolescents. We can raise awareness about the importance of parenting during adolescence, we can shift negative perceptions about parenting and adolescence, and we can provide tools for raising healthy teenagers. The power to do so is well within our grasp, and the effects will reverberate throughout our schools, our courts, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our lives. This report is an invitation to the media, researchers, practitioners, community leaders, parents, and policy makers to tap its findings, to build on its ideas, and to collaborate with its efforts. We look forward to working with you.
and we fear for their safety.Report As a society. and their very lives. and their rawness. their future. RAISING TEENS Background 15 . their rudeness. we both fear adolescents and fear for them. We fear their rashness.
Resnick et al. Strasburger 1995. McAdoo 1999b. African American. and Native American youth endure the hardship of fewer resources. Ozer et al. up to ten percent of today’s teens are estimated to attempt suicide each year. •  Carnegie Council 1995. Yet. the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development concluded in 1995 that fully half of American adolescents were at moderate or high risk of damaging their life chances by multiple high-risk behaviors and school failure. REPORT BACKGROUND Symptomatic of the stresses. Poussaint and Alexander 2000. and greater stress than do their European American counterparts. adolescence is a time not only of risk. Snyder and Sickmund 1999. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. when we put our minds to it. 1998. •  Scales in press. the systems that could and should support them are under siege: Parents and other adults are working longer hours in settings where they are unavailable to their children. Weissbourd 1996. Clarke 1997. and are climbing among African Americans. 16 . rates among Native American and Hispanic teens are higher than those of European Americans. McAdoo 1999b. media are sending degrading messages about teens in general and young people of color in particular.S. Hine 1999. Council of Economic Advisors 2000. Gibbs et al. or community life. and emotional competence. On the other hand. In anticipation of the increasingly complex demands of adult living in the United States. Fully five percent of teens worry about the source of their next meal. 1998. The suicide rate for youths 15 to 19 doubled between 1970 and 1990. Poussaint and Alexander 2000. teens and adults together can turn around these trends. Garbarino 1999.The Need Research gives us no reason to fear adolescents—in fact. •  Council of Economic Advisors 2000. Hewlett and West 1998. •  Children’s Defense Fund 2000. social. higher risks. U. Close to a third of high-school seniors are binge There is clear evidence RAISING TEENS drinking. 1998.000 youth each year are homeless or runaways without a secure place to stay. Louis Harris 1995. teens and adults together can turn around these trends. schools are often structured in ways that do not meet students’ learning needs. school. Summarizing the grim statistics. Schoen et al. Most do not feel that they are valued by people in their community or that they have caring adults and role models around them. •  Annie E. Gibbs et al. Elkind 1984. Over 100. Snyder and Sickmund 1999. many of the measures of physical and emotional well-being for teens are alarming. •  Children’s Defense Fund 2000. 1998. •  Snyder and Sickmund 1999. Panel on High-Risk Youth 1993. Hispanic. •  Council of Economic Advisors 2000. by almost all measures. that. and the strengths and talents of teens give us every incentive to do so. Also. 1998. National Coalition 1994. Hersch 1998. American teens are facing higher and higher expectations for intellectual. it shows our negative images of teens to be largely stereotypical and unfair—but it gives us many reasons to fear for them. Ozer et al. when we put our minds to it. 1997. Children’s Defense Fund 2000. Council of Economic Advisors 2000. Côté and Allahar 1996. Because it brings profound change. Close to half of teens report that they do not feel safe from violence in some aspect of their home. National Coalition 1994. and many communities are struggling with poverty or setting priorities that shortchange the young. but also  Stepp 2000. with at least twice as many seriously considering it. Casey Foundation 2000. there is clear evidence that.
•  Elkind 1993. Steinberg 1996. although they are still high. 1999. •  Borkowski. Hauser 1991. Council of Economic Advisors 2000. About half of American teens volunteer for a community organization. schools. Teens themselves acknowledge the influence of parents. Fitzgerald 2000. Benson et al. communities. major societal initiatives have made significant inroads into some of the toughest problems for American adolescents. Youniss and Yates 1997. Some of the most characteristic traits of adolescents are also in our favor. reporting in studies that their parents remain critically important as guides. Council of Economic Advisors 2000.  Stepp 2000. Resnick et al. Furstenberg et al. and Bristol-Power in press. National Commission on Children 1991. and as a society. mentors. social fabric. as families. Smetana and Asquith 1994. Ramey. Casey Foundation 2000. •  Kipke 1999b. the media and the public sometimes gravitate to simplistic explanations that blame parents and look to them to remedy teen problems singlehandedly. One of the most effective ways to turn the tide is to support the adults playing significant roles in the lives of adolescents. and fresh perspective. •  Youth Development 2000. and attend religious services. 1999. media information. Its very plasticity offers us ways to mend the past as individuals. Belkin 1999. Osherson 1999. After years of disheartening increases. However. including. Given a chance. Small 1990. Johnson. •  Bostrom 2000b. Small and Eastman 1991. parents of adolescents frequently express the need for more and better information and support.b. Benson et al. Camino. Dishion. Meredith 1999. 1998. among others. Youniss and Yates 1997. Leonard 1999. Powell 1986.S. 1997. Duffett. the arts. African Americans now complete high school at rates comparable to European Americans. still lag substantially behind. Small 1990.of opportunity. Holden 1997.d. 1999. 17 . Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Children Now 1994. Curiously. more realistic assessments of what parents can do—and allocation of the resources they need to do so—are few and far between. Hewlett and West 1998. participate in after-school activities besides sports. their parents. Smetana 1994. Frustrated by appalling reports of teen violence and self-destruction. U. McCord. school. Carnegie Council 1995. as well as frustration that it is not more readily available or accessible. courage. Takanishi 1993. however. community service. Although it is true that peers. and culture. and Wheeler 2000. and other areas. Children’s Defense Fund 2000. Families and Work Institute 1993. •  Scales in press. Louis Harris 1995. although rates for Hispanic and Native American youngsters. •  Simpson 1997. and other factors take on added significance as children become teenagers. and Poulin 1999. many teens excel in sports. Garbarino 1999. 1999. Feldman and Elliott 1990. Goodman 1999. Comer and Poussaint 1992. Council of Economic Advisors 2000. Steinberg 1996. contributing substantially to the American economy. notably. Clarke 1997. Ponton 1997. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. relatively little attention has been given to supporting the critical role that parents play in the lives of adolescents. 1997. •  Bostrom 2000a. •  Council of Economic Advisors 2000. and Farkas 1999. Resnick et al. teen birth and pregnancy rates have been declining. •  Annie E. Small 1990. research consistently shows that parents remain a powerful influence in fostering healthy teen development and preventing negative outcomes. Social services. Office of National Drug Control Policy n. passion. and advocates. •  Bostrom 2000b. Anecdotally. and policy initiatives for parents of teenagers are all in short supply. adventurousness. such as their curiosity.  Building on these assets. •  Bales 2000. Holmbeck. Research consistently remain a powerful influence in fostering healthy teen development and preventing negative RAISING TEENS REPORT BACKGROUND shows that parents outcomes. sounding boards. Zeldin. skepticism. Galinsky 1999. Pogrebin 1983. Benson et al. Paikoff. Also hopeful are examples of communities that are mobilizing on behalf of teens. Pittman and Fleming 1991. Carnegie Council 1995. Blos 1962. Benson et al.
has prepared a guide for parents and practitioners that lists and evaluates educational resources for parents of adolescents. You and Your Adolescent: A Parent’s Guide for Ages 10–20 by Laurence Steinberg and Ann Levine (1997).ama-assn. reach a largely middle-class and female audience. such as the National Parent Information Network web site (www. •  Bavolek 1988a. however. • Experiments are under way to include more parenting content in cable and related media. such as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (www. pamphlets. based at the University of Missouri-Columbia. and Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum (1997). frequently includes features about issues relevant to raising teens. These resources include the following: • A number of parenting books offer parents insightful analyses of research on adolescence.npin. boyzChannel and girlzChannel. such as Working Mother and Mothering. • A number of nonprofit and commercial web sites offer information on issues of adolescent health and parenting. both commercial and public. •  Dinkmeyer et al. 18 . such as Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle. such as STEP/Teen  and the Nurturing Program for Parents and Adolescents. and only a relatively small proportion of this group. such as Anthony Wolf’s Get Out of My Life But First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? (1991) and James Comer and Alvin Poussaint’s Raising Black Children (1992). 1998. curricula. which carry daily programming for RAISING TEENS parents of children through early teens. such as The Boston Parents’ Paper. videos. such as Our Last Best Shot by Laura Sessions Stepp (2000). Most media resources.teenpregnancy. This is also true of some of the controlled circulation parenting papers. • Many major parenting education curricula have special programs on the parenting of teens.This is not to say that excellent resources are not available in the media for parents of adolescents.b.org) and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (www.drugfreeamerica. and parenting magazines. regularly carry columns and/or frequently run feature articles on teen issues. • Radio and television news. local and national.d. such as Fox Family Channel’s new digital cable/satellite networks.  Riegler 1999.c. The organization ParentLink. and web sites.org/adolhlth). including books.org) and the American Medical Association’s Adolescent Health On-Line (www.org). as well as offering the perspective of clinical experience. •  Sheriff 1999. • REPORT BACKGROUND Some of the major women’s magazines. • Some public service campaigns include parents of teenagers as a key target audience.
the Network on Transitions to Adulthood. Maryland.b. Fischhoff. Benson et al. •  For further examples. Scales and Leffert 1999. under its new president Ruth Wooden. for example. Resources are also available to encourage and support media professionals in covering issues of youth and family. analyzing. for example. former head of the Advertising Council. National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth 1997. the Forum has identified a number of areas for research and policy analysis that are relevant to the parenting of adolescents. The Washington-based Forum on Adolescence was created in 1996 by the National Academy of Sciences and is chaired by David Hamburg. D. a new peer-reviewed journal is scheduled to begin publication in 2001 called Parenting: Science and Practice. advocates. Operating under the auspices of the Board on Children. such as the Network on Successful Pathways through Middle Childhood. specializes in gathering. teenagers. A number of the research networks conducted under the auspices of the John D. 2000. and the Institute for Mental Health Initiatives in Washington. including: (a) the New York–based National Parenting Association. such as the Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families in College Park. the Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice.In addition. •  See. Youth. the White House convened a conference on May 2. •  See the Program on Human and Community Development description within the Foundation’s web site. •  See. and Families of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.htm. whose concluding report was issued in 1995. 19 . for example. several initiatives are under way to develop national professional and advocacy organizations related to parenting. and others. for example. with a special emphasis on youth. and the now concluded Network on Successful Adolescent Development among Youth in High-Risk Settings. Gambone and Arbreton 1997. the emphasis is on developing initiatives to engage in research RAISING TEENS REPORT BACKGROUND  Carnegie Council 1995. On the professional front. The Minneapolis-based Search Institute. Crowell. and disseminating research on children.macfound. parents.C.org/research/hcd/index. recent years have seen the growth of a stronger infrastructure that can provide research information on aspects of adolescent development. Equally encouraging is the fact that these developments are occurring against a backdrop of increased political and professional interest in parenting in general and the parenting of teenagers in particular. see Hass 1998. Kipke 1999a. On the political front.” bringing together researchers. entitled “Teenagers: Raising Responsible and Resourceful Youth. and summarizing recent developments in research and practice. and issues related to strengthening families and communities. teens. and Catherine T. and Kipke 1999. Also. The Philadelphia-based organization Public/Private Ventures seeks to improve social policies and programs. created in 1958. Forum on Adolescence 2000. to continue the work of the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. www. 1999. Youth Development 2000. MacArthur Foundation have addressed issues related to adolescent development. •  See. the Network on Successful Midlife Development. former head of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. founded by Sylvia Ann Hewlett to provide a “think tank” on issues of parenting and family policy.
American Academy of Pediatrics 1991. at the same time culture and media are conveying negative images of parent-teen relationships. their numbers lag way behind those for parents of younger children. Pruitt 1999. First. 1997. established professional organizations are giving more attention to outreach to parents of teens. Holmbeck. helplessness. Resnick et al. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry have created resources specifically targeting parents of adolescents. while there are a number of media resources for parents of teens. several problems remain. Blum and Rinehart n. further discouraging the media from taking the time and the risks involved in offering information and advice. currently spearheaded by the Chicago-based organization Family Support America. strategies for avoiding them are complex. Maggs.. •  Arnett 1999. •  Duffett. Schulenberg et al. and Farkas 1999. For example. books on parenting in general number in the thousands.and communications strategies to change public opinion regarding the importance of parenting. to create a national membership organization for parents. Second. only about two dozen of the close to 1. anxiety. Bowker. for example. The Healthy Adolescents Project of the American Psychological Association is engaged REPORT BACKGROUND in an initiative. while books on parenting of teens number in the dozens. and (d) the Pittsburgh-based National Parenting Education Network. efforts to close the gap in media resources and social services for parents of teens are hampered by cultural images of parents as ineffectual and parent-teen relationships as inevitably troubled and stormy. •  See. 1997. Although the growth in media resources. and it is not important to do so. Third. Garbarino 1999. (c) an initiative. in a one-two punch. Although major problems are far from inevitable (see “Principles and Context” chapter to follow). and in organizations to provide an infrastructure is encouraging. and Hurrelmann 1997. founded in 1996 to advance the field of parenting education. and fear for their children. frustration. Schulenberg. Parents whose children are teenagers—or are about to become teenagers— share these pessimistic views. the American Medical Association has developed special initiatives to disseminate the results of research regarding the key role of parents and others in healthy adolescent development. in research to fill the media pipeline. •  Stepp 1997. In addition. R. •  Entin 1999. Christenson and Roberts 1998. expressing hopelessness.000 videos on parenting focus on parenting of teens. 20 . founded by Belinda Rollins in 1996. Hersch 1998. to produce materials on normal adolescent development for practitioners who work with parents.d. Johnson. to promote awareness and resources for parenting. for example. Paikoff. According to R. (b) the Washington-based Parenting Coalition International. it is hard to find. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. they are also RAISING TEENS  See. for example. Strasburger 1995. contributing to a perception that there is little available. Hewlett and West 1998. •  Lipton 2000. in partnership with other professional organizations.
 In entertainment programming on television. Carnegie Council 1995. when it comes to solving problems. as well as those who support the parents of teens. hostile. •  Duffett. if not making matters worse. Farkas and Johnson 1997. Côté and Allahar 1996. Some authors argue that the experts are all wrong in that parents have little influence. Dorfman. 21 . •  Amundson. and Biely 1999. teen characters are typically portrayed as engaged in peer relationship problems and disconnected from family and community. In short. Interacting with these media images. and resistant to any assistance. or unavailable. Kunkel 1996. •  Scales in press. Scales. parents are ineffectual. Recent surveys of adults also document broad public concern about moral decline in the young. •  Aubrun and Grady 2000a.” “wild. and Farkas 1999. almost three-quarters responding with negative adjectives. violent. absent. •  Stepp 2000. Children Now 1994. Bostrom 2000b. compounding these problems is unrelenting confusion and controversy among parenting experts featured in the media. As Washington Post reporter Laura Sessions Stepp observed while in the process of researching her book.” “reckless. Furthermore. when asked what comes to mind when they think of today’s teenagers. although parents are in a position to influence profoundly the well-being of adolescents. Our Last Best Shot. public attitudes toward teens are predominantly negative. and Halvorson 1998. parents are left unable to find the information they need or to evaluate its significance when they do. two-thirds or more of Americans respond with adjectives such as “rude. Woodruff. the media tend to polarize parenting advice. and Lichter 2000. In print and television news coverage. although surveys of teens indicate that most actually hold traditional American values around honesty. teenagers themselves have noted and lamented these negative images. authors of parenting books and articles often position themselves as offering. and Winett 1995. content analyses find that teenagers are depicted as perpetrators or victims of crime and violence.conveying powerful negative images of teens themselves. Bales 2000. Dorfman et al.” “selfish. Responding to marketing assumptions and pressures. Simpson 1997. •  Kunkel. a significant opportunity to improve outcomes for adolescents by providing more and better resources within the media for parents of teens.” and “materialistic. Lucero. Johnson. even more so for young people of color. particularly those involved with teens. REPORT BACKGROUND Fourth. Teens are typically portrayed in the news and entertainment media as unattractive. if not frightening—ugly. their ability to do so is handicapped at once by too little helpful information and by too much misleading information. Ehrensaft 1997. There exists. Practical information for parents in news stories has been low and declining. therefore. •  Pitzer 1999. the complete and correct answers. at the same time culture and media are conveying negative images of parent-teen relationships. alienated from parents and families. pitting one expert against another. Small and Eastman 1991. and volunteerism. •  Turow 1999. for example.” Even parents share these views. RAISING TEENS In a one-two punch. and disruptive. hard work. 1997. Duffett. Christenson and Roberts 1998. and Farkas 1999. Rollin. for the first time.” “irresponsible. further undermining parents’ morale and reducing media incentives to feature teen information.  Scales in press. Johnson. • [43 ] Heintz-Knowles 2000. In surveys. •  Cassidy 1998. delinquent. Gibbs 1998b. in contrast to their competitors. •  Harris 1998. 1997. problem-ridden. •  Bostrom 2000b. they are also conveying powerful negative images of teens themselves. National Issues Forums Institute 2000. Lichter. while others argue that parents have influence but that the experts are wrong in the advice they give. as have adults.
For another. and others well-established research findings. Particularly in the last two decades. and does. religious and medical leaders. although research is hardly without societal assumptions and values. it sought to bring to the attention of media. in particular by launching a special initiative called the Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents. This growing body of knowledge is potentially a very valuable asset for parents as they consider and weigh their options. and others. see inside front cover of this report. since much of the research is relatively recent. and the particular gap in information and support for parents of adolescents. 22 . a significant body of research. a significant body of research. Are there really solid findings amid the controversy and uncertainty that surround research and practice about parenting adolescents? The Project found that there were significant areas of agreement among  Simpson 1997. which may be different from those addressed by some traditional sources. the Project was guided by an earlier report published by the Center and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. parents. has begun to accumulate on the role of parents and families in adolescence. and does. but that research as a source has been underrecognized and underutilized. has begun to accumulate on the role of parents and families in adolescence. MacArthur Foundation. unprecedented both in quantity and quality. Why focus on research? There is. it can. it addresses some of the questions that are particularly relevant to parents today. the confusion and controversy that surrounds its role. educators. For one thing. In doing so. a wealth of custom and ideas that has been passed down through the generations from elders. Particularly in the last RAISING TEENS family members. Can scientific research really make a significant addition? This Project took the position that there are many excellent sources of ideas for parents of adolescents. clinicians. Because of the conflicting views in media information about the parenting of adolescents. Also. with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. the Harvard Center for Health Communication has undertaken to address the need for more and better information about the parenting of adolescents. That is. two decades. which underscored the potentially powerful role of the media in supporting and informing parents. counter some of the anxietyprovoking and pessimistic messages about adolescence and parenting within the popular culture. unprecedented both in quantity and in quality of methodology and analysis. entitled The Role of the Mass Media in Parenting Education. highlight the differences between approaches that assume the values in mainstream culture and those that allow for differences within and among ethnic groups. after all. mass media celebrities. it can. the Project decided to take the unusual step of placREPORT BACKGROUND ing particular emphasis on identifying the common ground among the broad diversity of disciplinary and ethnic approaches to the parenting of teens. Copies of the 1997 report are available from the Harvard Center for Health Communication.The Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents In the past few years.
styles. Scanning over 300 reviews of research and practice. but rather outlines the overall task at hand. Like all job descriptions.  Collins et al. in spite of the broad diversity of cultures represented in the United States. 23 RAISING TEENS results are organized as the Ten Tasks of Adolescence. in spite of the broad diversity of cultures represented in the United States and the myriad individual differences in parents REPORT BACKGROUND The purpose of this report. the Project distilled several kinds of information: • An outline of the central ways in which parents influence healthy adolescent development. • Options of research-based strategies that parents can consider in carrying out each of the Five Basics of the parenting role.experts on the parenting of adolescents. interests. values. it does not teach the skills for accomplishing the tasks within it. discussed in the . • Bottom-line messages for parents that emerge from these findings. the usual shortcomings of social science research. and understanding. 2000.  There are many areas of agreement among experts on the parenting of adolescents. the myriad individual differences in parents and children. and the relatively short period of time in which parenting and adolescence have been the subject of psychological research and practice.” preceded by a chapter of “Principles and Context” that outlines a dozen principles common to the Five Basics. Each of the Five Basics ends with a Key Message for Parents.” and children. The results are listed as Strategies for Parents at the end of each of the Five Basics. The overall result is a kind of job description for parents of adolescents. • An outline of the critical developmental tasks that teenagers need to undertake in order to make a successful transition to adulthood. Steinberg 2000. is to provide a summary of these areas of widespread agreement within research on parenting and adolescence. to which each individual brings different strengths. The chapter on “Principles and Context. The results are summarized in the chapter called “The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents. then.
Definitions. ethnic. parenting education. the common ground within the knowledge base. In emphasizing the identification of areas of common ground within research on parenting. the research team scanned and analyzed the materials. geographical. and health promotion. They include academic theoreticians and researchers in such fields as child and adolescent development. The list of reviewers is given in the “Acknowledgments” at the end of this report. parents. and families. and theoretical work that fell within this scope. medicine. These recommendations are outlined in the final section of the report. Second.Methods. journalism. and books were consulted. In the course of preparing its earlier report. on behalf of adolescents. health care. and philosophical perspectives. The Role of 24 . given the Project’s goal of highlighting the common ground in parenting research and experience. hundreds of articles. the Project gathered major summaries of research and clinical observations regarding the parenting of adolescents. the Project reached a number of conclusions about the most urgent steps that need to be taken. practical. These themes were then organized into a structural framework that was designed to reflect accurately. identifying the common themes and conclusions that spanned a variety of sources and perspectives. social services. Finally. the Project was encouraged and guided by several previous initiatives. and family studies. No attempt was made to identify all the research and clinical. the Project sought to draw from recent reviews that have already screened and summarized existing research and practice in areas relevant to the parenting of adolescents. child advocacy. reports. Of utmost importance. education. Special analysis and outreach were implemented to assure REPORT BACKGROUND that the materials also represented a broad diversity of disciplinary. and Assumptions How did the Project identify the points about which there was widespread agreement in research and practice? First. building on the experience and momentum of this Project and others like it. Ultimately. vocational. as well as materials available from the Internet and from communications with experts in the field. rather. Third. reflecting on all the observations made in producing these RAISING TEENS findings. but also clearly and cogently. psychology. and practitioners in such areas as mental health. and racial and ethnic perspectives. the report was reviewed in draft form by over 20 leaders representing a diversity of disciplinary. and no point was included in the final report that had attracted significant disagreement among reviewers. casting a broad net through literature searches and consultation with leading researchers. the feedback from reviewers was carefully evaluated and incorporated.
the Project has made several important assumptions about both parenting and adolescence. a concept also used in some scholarly work. and Brooks-Gunn 1991. Elliott and Feldman 1990. In popular literature. .iamyourchild. “parents” were defined broadly. and extend these initiatives. for example. coordinate with. Bornstein in press. as well as those who work with and for these parents. Smith 1999. Elder 1975. Lerner and Lerner in press. including immediate and extended family members or kin. Also. whatever their biological relationship to the child. Department of Agriculture Extension System delineated core parenting skills. Efforts to identify and define adolescence as a special stage of development in American society date to the late nineteenth century and have led to a wide range of definitions. allowing the knowledge to lend support to one of the most critical areas of family life. •  Phelan 1998. Csikszentmihalyi and Larson 1984. Second. in order to acknowledge that this is indeed one of the many issues on which there is no consensus. •  Smith et al. Lerner.the Mass Media in Parenting Education. First. Bredehoft and Cassidy 1995. Petersen. focusing on parenting of young children. In both popular and scholarly literature. foster parents. the Families and Work Institute had analyzed a large body of research and expertise in putting together messages for parents as part of the widely known “I Am Your Child” Campaign (www. especially via the media. as well as to establish standards and best practices for parenting education and related fields of family health care. Dunst 1995. guardians. Other initiatives include several encyclopedic collections of information on adolescence and on parenting. “adolescence” was also defined broadly. highlighting specifically the parenting of adolescents and enhancing the availability of practical information. it is also not uncommon for the beginning of adolescence to be defined by  Simpson 1997. Carter 1996 •  Kimmel and Weiner 1985. Related efforts have also been made to articulate basic principles of youth development. to provide a basis for planning parenting education programs within the Extension system. Family Resource Coalition 1996.org). In the early 1990s. Lerner 1999. to encompass all those adults with responsibility for raising children.S. •  See. Our hope is that this initiative will help to give the knowledge base a much-needed accessibility and applicability among parents of adolescents. •  See. it is shorthand for all these groups and for all others in parenting roles. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. REPORT BACKGROUND The Project on the Parenting of Adolescents has sought to identify. Blos 1962. see also Steinberg 2000. including demographic studies that need easily identified markers. four leaders within the U. the Center for Health Communication had uncovered significant agreement among a number of leading experts that this kind of consensus building with respect to parenting issues was both doable and desirable. Where the term “parents” appears in this paper. Cooke et al. family support. 1994. step-parents. 1996. it is common to equate adolescence with the “teen” years from 13 to 19. •  U. and tribe and clan members. Bornstein 1995a. and family life education. for example.S. creating the National Extension Parent Education Model. 25 RAISING TEENS In laying out a set of principles for the parenting of adolescents. Stepp 2000.
the Project noted a striking similarity among broad goals for children across research areas and ethnic groups within the United States. and Costos 1983. A number of theories include the concept of “young adulthood” or “emerging adulthood. These goals almost invariably include survival. Mahdi. Christopher. Blos 1962. •  Côté and Allahar 1996. Paikoff. in which adolescence starts at middle school (now often fifth or sixth grade) and ends perhaps upon the completion of high school. such as the successful adaptation to puberty or the achievement of financial independence. Blos 1962. •  Arnett 2000. Those taking a legal perspective often define the end of adolescence around important legal changes of status. 1999. expressed by scholars previously. Donovan. adolescence is also being defined by patterns of schooling in the United States. Implicit in most research on adolescent development and parenting are certain goals for adolescence. This Project has included research on adolescence that uses either biological or social definitions. White. Speisman. The Project takes the view that the completion of the transition to full adult responsibilities in many ethnic groups and many circumstances involves a period that is generally regarded as occurring after adolescence. as well as strategies. Speisman. White. U. socioeconomic. and generally also include social connection and responsibility of some kind. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Donovan. •  Arnett 2000. particularly around citizenship and/or family relationships. Jessor. while other goals. Small and Eastman 1991. tend to be cultural and behaviors to be individual. and the relative absence of positive rituals and consistent milestones in mainstream American society has been noted. •  Furstenberg et al. •  Holmbeck. Campion 1995. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. •  Elder 1975. LeVine 1988. goals that underlie research measures of “healthy development” and “positive outcomes. Jessor. but also the major contrasts in REPORT BACKGROUND social and legal contexts. LeVine 1997. •  Holmbeck. Blos 1962.” The Project sought out research whose implicit or explicit goals were consistent with the goals for adolescence in the United States that cross ethnic.” which is in turn distinguished from “late adolescence. while the ending of adolescence is more often defined by social or psychological milestones. that some goals can be thought of as nearly universal. Kimmel and Weiner 1985. Some cultures have initiation rites to mark the beginning of adolescence or of adulthood. The Project took the view. 26 . RAISING TEENS There is a striking similarity among broad goals for children across research areas and ethnic groups within the United States. the issue of societal goals for adolescence was addressed.” in part to address the expanding number of years that many American youngsters remain in transition to fully mature adult personalities and roles. and religious groups.  Elliott and Feldman 1990. and economic self-sufficiency. physical and mental health. Paikoff. such as eligibility for public schooling. and Costa 1991.S. “Early adolescence” is often distinguished from “middle adolescence” or “adolescence proper.biological milestones. and Costos 1983. such as the beginning of puberty. Kagan 1972. To some extent.and a 20-year-old. Again looking for areas of widespread agreement. notably puberty or middle school as a starting point and graduation from high school and other markers as an ending point. •  Crockett 1997. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. and Costa 1991. and Meade 1996. Third.” in acknowledgment of not only the profound developmental differences between a 10.
the question is often raised—appropriately—about whether efforts should be directed toward changing parents or changing the social context to allow parents to do their job more effectively. •  Simpson 1997. in short. while appreciating the fact that opinions vary widely within groups and across time on this very complex and difficult matter and that no choices are ideal. With regard to the scope of the Project. as a society. attests to both the common ground that arises from honoring and understanding our shared experience and the differences that emerge from honoring and understanding parenting across cultures. African Americans. while our diverse backgrounds and circumstances create differences in other goals and strategies.” Both approaches are important. although broadly speaking this report addresses issues of parenting. Tatum 1997. although it is noted as an important issue confronting parents during their child’s adolescence. Native Americans.This report thus assumes that there is no one “right” way to raise children. Also. especially in discussing ethnic groups. an acknowledgment of the critical importance of the issue of teen parenting. with. the subject of this study was the parenting of adolescents. McAdoo 1999b. not in the spirit of blaming parents for problems engendered by a lack of social and economic supports. for example. This report. but rather of partnering with parents in accomplishing their goals for their own development and their teen’s. the Project was mindful of the importance of using terms that are respectful and sensitive to group preferences. circumstances. while this report focuses on providing information and support for parents. In choosing to use the terms European Americans. not parenting by adolescents. Finally. again. with an acknowledgment that it will be important to extend such an analysis to the larger human community of which the United States is a part. Our common expectations create similarities in some goals and strategies. •  Dombro et al. Asian Pacific Americans. and others. McGoldrick. Furthermore. this Project recognizes that some parents will not be able to benefit from the information in this report until we. research and analysis were confined to findings about parenting of adolescents within the United States. adolescence. and Pearce 1996. 27 . takes the view that the answer is not “either-or” but rather “both-and. This report. Wallack et al. both through community support and individual and family growth. RAISING TEENS REPORT BACKGROUND This report thus assumes that there is no one “right” way to raise children. 1993. Hispanics. like the 1997 report that precedes it. the report has again attempted to assess current consensus within these groups on desirable terminology. 1996. its central focus is not the impact of the media on adolescents nor  See. In other words. Giordano. and the the parent’s role in monitoring or limiting that impact. and individual styles. media. With regard to language.
substance abuse. In addition to the information and references that follow.first meet their basic needs for protection from the effects of poverty. the Project now offers its central findings concerning the areas of widespread agreement about the parenting of adolescents. This said. therefore. violence. further information is available from the resource files created in conjunction with the Project. The report offers its information. community development. untreated physical and mental illness. policy. with the goal of reaching both parents themselves and those who are working to create a more supportive environment for parents through social services. humanitarianism. and other means. and the like. racism. Readers are invited to request further information and to contribute to the dialogue that these important issues engender. 28 RAISING TEENS REPORT BACKGROUND .
family structure. arising time and time again. crossing differences of discipline. stemming in part from differences in ethnicity and values.Principles What emerges most clearly and powerfully from research on the parenting of adolescents? Certainly. methodology. RAISING TEENS and Context 29 . Just as certainly. socioeconomic circumstance. there is agreement on broad principles. ethnicity. there is disagreement on the details. and individual style.
and (2) five specific components of the parenting role. the Project analyzed some of the key literature on adolescent development in order to identify the major developmental changes that parents could expect. In a dramatic interplay of biological and social forces. critical steps in physical. peer and family relationships. during adolescence. thinking capacity. RAISING TEENS  Fischhoff. brain characteristics. Because the process of adolescent development is so closely interwoven with the parental role. cognitive. The Project distilled these concepts as follows. and need to support. Carnegie Council 1995. One of the most powerful forces that influences the parenting role is the set of profound developmental changes that occurs in adolescents. knowledge. this chapter will outline the common concepts. the quality and quantity of developmental change in adolescence rival that of infancy and early childhood. Although development will continue in adulthood. moral reasoning. emotional sophistication. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT Overall. Before laying out the Five Basics in the next chapter. which the Project called the Five Basics. as a reference point for thinking about the parenting role. social. Overall. these changes could be organized into Ten Tasks of Adolescence. over the course of adolescence. 30 . and occupational readiness. and Kipke 1999.Principles and Context At heart. since they offer a foundation and framework for understanding the Five Basics. Crowell. The Project found that. and emotional growth during adolescence shape teens’ future life course. as well as a snapshot of the many interrelated forces that influence all Five Basics. the quality and quantity of developmental change in adolescence rival that of infancy and early childhood. the Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents found that two kinds of key information emerged from identifying the areas of agreement in research on the parenting of adolescents: (1) important concepts that are common to all of the parenting role. sexual maturity. teenagers take the shape of adults in size.
sexuality.The Ten Tasks of Adolescence 1. Identity formation is in a sense a lifelong process. and belief systems to guide their decisions and behavior. Teens typically acquire a powerful new ability to understand human relationships. values. as well as learning to manage the accompanying biological changes and sexual feelings and to engage in healthy sexual behaviors. having been adopted. problem solving. to think about possibilities. 31 RAISING TEENS . and citizenship. as well as sensitivity to the diversity of groups that make up American society. religious views. Adjust to sexually maturing bodies and feelings Teens are faced with adjusting to bodies that as much as double in size and that acquire sexual characteristics. as well as to meet expectations regarding commitment to family. to think about thinking. problem solving. and conflict resolution 5. Teens gradually take on the roles that will be expected of them in adulthood. 6. Understand and express more complex emotional experiences 7. Although the task of adolescence has sometimes been described as “separating” from parents and other caregivers. Their task also includes establishing a sexual identity and developing the skills for romantic relationships. community. Another part of this task is developing a positive identity around gender. including developing an identity that reflects a sense of individuality as well as connection to valued people and groups. Establish key aspects of identity 9. Teens typically undergo profound changes in their way of thinking during adolescence. Develop and apply a more complex level of perspective taking 4. and belief systems Related to all these dramatic shifts. and ethnicity and. and conflict resolution. learning to acquire the skills and manage the multiple demands that will allow them to move into the labor market. Develop and apply abstract thinking skills 3. if appropriate. having learned to “put themselves in another person’s shoes. Building on these changes and resulting skills. allowing them more effectively to understand and coordinate abstract ideas. but crucial aspects of identity are typically forged at adolescence. in which. teens are involved in acquiring new abilities to think about and plan for the future. Meet the demands of increasingly mature roles and responsibilities 10. and to think about emotions in abstract ways. to understand the emotions of others in more sophisticated ways.” they learn to take into account both their perspective and another person’s at the same time. Although youngsters typically have friends throughout childhood. physical attributes. Develop and apply new coping skills in areas such as decision making. Renegotiate relationships with adults in parenting roles – See next page for references. to engage in more sophisticated strategies for decision making. it is more widely seen now as adults and teens working together to negotiate a change in the relationship that accommodates a balance of autonomy and ongoing connection. Identify meaningful moral standards. and to moderate their risk taking to serve goals rather than jeopardize them. questioning beliefs from childhood and adopting more personally meaningful values. Also related to these changes are shifts for teens toward an ability to identify and communicate more complex emotions. Form friendships that are mutually close and supportive 8. teens generally develop peer relationships that play much more powerful roles in providing support and connection in their lives. and to use this new ability in resolving problems and conflicts in relationships. teens typically develop a more complex understanding of moral behavior and underlying principles of justice and care. with the development of mutual trust and understanding. to try out hypotheses. with the emphasis on each depending in part on the family’s ethnic background. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT 2. to think ahead. They tend to shift from friendships based largely on the sharing of interests and activities to those based on the sharing of ideas and feelings. and to construct philosophies.
Kohlberg and Gilligan 1972. Flavell. •  McCubbin et al. Kegan 1994. Sullivan 1953. neighborhood and community dysfunction and violence. 1999. Youth Development 2000. and Fine 2000. and Eichorn 1985. most teens navigate the developmental tasks surprisingly successfully. •  Damon 1997. Miller. Wallace and Williams 1997. and Brillon 1995. Csikszentmihalyi and Larson 1984. Havighurst 1972. Brown 1993. This list is offered as a particularly short. with pauses and regressions along the way. Crowell. and Coleman 1991. the concept of developmental tasks has been articulated in psychological research for over half a century. with the hope that it will generate further efforts of its kind. •  Burt 1998. Kohlberg 1969. devaluation and discrimination regarding such issues as ethnicity. Savin-Williams and Rodriguez 1993. Elkind 1967. •  Damon 1999. Levine. Hamilton and Lempert 1996. Erikson 1968. Youniss and Yates 1997. Susman et al. Dyk 1993. Masten and Coatsworth 1998. and Shepard 1997. and Fine 2000. Youngs 1993. Gordon 1996. Hauser 1991. Miller and Benson 1999. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. Smetana and Asquith 1994. This list of tasks is not intended to suggest that teens encounter or resolve these tasks in any particular order or sequence. During adolescence. Selman and Schultz 1990. the tasks can be organized in a number of PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT different ways. Harter 1999. 2000. Baumrind 1987.  Furman. Kipke 1999a. Kohlberg and Gilligan 1972. Ingersoll 1989. separately. Zeldin. Brooks-Gunn. or that they accomplish each one all at once. Lightfoot 1997. Also. Savin-Williams and Berndt 1990. Holmbeck. Koch 1993. Buchanan. Kegan 1994. Vondracek. and Schlegel 1994. and Becker 1992. Way 1998. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Kroger 1996. and Carnochan 1990. Carnegie Council 1995. and parent-oriented version. Way 1998. On the contrary. •  Larson and Richards 1994. current. •  Siegler 1997. Giordano. Furman and Wehner 1997. •  Maccoby 1998. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Arnett 1999. Demo. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Kuhn and Angelev 1976. Steinberg 1991b. Katchadourian 1990. Brooks-Gunn and Paikoff 1997. Sandler. and Kipke 1999.S. Davis 1985. Swanson. Fischer. Giordano. Benson et al. Coles 1997. McGoldrick. Pollack 1998. McAdoo 1999b. most developmental milestones evolve very gradually. including special needs and learning disabilities. Murphy. Brodzinsky. class. Tatum 1997. Susman 1997. Meyer. Selman 1980. 1991. 1987. •  Fischhoff. Furman and Wehner 1997. Lerner. Ponton 1997. Kipke 1999b. Berndt and Perry 1990. Camino. Graber. 1997. Fowler et al. Selman and Schultz 1990. and shortages of opportunities for developing competencies. Larson et al. Meyer. and in combination. Youniss and Smollar 1985. 1996. Collins 1990. Graber. Hoffman 1980. Selman 1980. Kindlon and Thompson 1999. 1982. Nurmi 1991. lack of adult support. 2000. Grotevant 1998. Bengtson and Kuypers 1971. •  Demo. physical or emotional trauma. McGoldrick. Tatum 1997. and Wheeler 2000. outlines of adolescent developmental milestones also appear in popular literature for parents. McAdoo 1999b. Eccles. •  Collins et al. and Feiring 1999. and BrooksGunn 1995. Harter and Buddin 1987. McAdoo 1995. Hooker 1991. Winnicott 1965. and Brillon 1995. 1966. the developmental changes during adolescence are part of a continuum of change that extends from childhood into adulthood. Coleman and Hendry 1990. For these and other reasons. Elkind 1984. and Miller 1993. although surprisingly rarely. Damon and Hart 1982. Smith. a number of factors can put teens at risk. Blos 1962. 32 RAISING TEENS . Allen. Marcia 1980. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. episodically. •  Baumeister and Vohs in press. Selman 1980. •  Havighurst 1972. Selman and Schultz 1990. McAdoo 1999b. and Becker 1992. BrooksGunn and Reiter 1990. Hauser 1991. Christenson and Roberts 1998. family dysfunction. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. Brooks-Gunn and Reiter 1990. •  Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Though this particular list of developmental tasks emerged from an analysis of recent research reviews. early deprivation that precluded developmental foundations. McClintock and Herdt 1996. mental and physical illness. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. García Coll. Piaget 1972. Allen. and Schulenberg 1986. Brown. Buchanan. 1989. Spencer and Markstrom-Adams 1990. and Brodzinsky 1998. Vondracek 1994. Rickel and Hendren 1993. Gentry. and Pearce 1996. Surrey 1991. Selman 1980. Petersen. Keating 1980. Shaver.A few notes on this list. •  Fischhoff. García Coll. or sexual orientation. Eisenberg. teens often rework earlier developmental tasks that they need as a foundation for current growth. Ultimately. and Pearce 1996. Crowell. and Kipke 1999. and summaries of developmental tasks have appeared from time to time in professional literature since then. However. Steinberg and Levine 1997. and Cunningham 1991. Damon and Hart 1982. Eron. Paikoff. immigrant status. Collins and Laursen 1992. Gilligan and Attanucci 1988. 1998. Selman and Schultz 1990. poverty. U. Elkind 1994. Grotevant et al. Noller 1994. Fischer and Rose 1994. and Petersen 1996. Damon 1997. Occasionally. Newberger 1999. generating somewhat different lists. •  Erikson 1968. Youniss and Smollar 1985. Eccles. Nightingale and Wolverton 1993. Berndt 1989. Brooks-Gunn. and Petersen 1996. Worell and Danner 1989. Spencer. Elkind 1967. Brooks-Gunn.
socioeconomic status. ethnicity. immigrant status. •  Davis 1985. Generally. Some are building blocks for others. Some aspects of the tasks are essentially skills that are needed in order to meet societal demands. Others. and in part because it is these changes that make it possible to across the diversity of family backgrounds and circumstances that make  Kegan 1994. aspects of abstract thinking are essential for achieving some levels of moral thinking. are offered as a contribution to the critical process of assisting parents in understanding their role in positive outcomes for youth. and citizenship. gender. (See next section of this chapter. teens and their families are not ready to take on some of the Ten Tasks without significant support and/or remedial work. like the Five Basics and other concepts in this report. if at all. such as decision making and emotional skills. RAISING TEENS PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT parents. will negotiate particular tasks later in life.”) The ways in which parents can and do influence the Ten Tasks is the subject of the following sections of this report. Some lists specifically emphasize tasks that meet societal demands while others focus on the developmental changes that underlie teens’ ability to meet directly the demands of society. using the most broadly held goals as described in the “Report Background” chapter.In some cases. for example. in an ongoing process of adult development. such lists of tasks explicitly or implicitly acknowledge that they are articulated in the service of broader societal goals. for these or other reasons. perspective taking. sexual orientation. and relationship building described in other tasks. sometimes including parenting a teen of their own. and all these skills contribute to teens’ ability to develop aspects of identity.) These Ten Tasks. Although the overall tasks of adolescence are essentially the same up America. there are variations within them related to race. while underscoring the developmental changes. family connection. individual ability. in response to life challenges. This list acknowledges both. such as economic self-sufficiency. as discussed in the “Report Background” chapter. physical and mental health. family structure. (See chapter on “Recommendations for Future Work. in part because it is particularly these changes that tend to be underrecognized or underappreciated by meet societal demands. and an invitation to continue the process. and other factors. 33 .
Murphy. emotional. teens present parents with striking evidence of these Ten Tasks in progress. and Kipke 1999. problem-solving. and periodic pauses. Also. Piaget 1972. There is significant debate among researchers on how to interpret the risk taking that many consider to be characteristic of adolescence. Fischer and Rose 1994. •  Garbarino 1999. Nurmi 1991. •  Fischhoff. Miller. justice. Rickel and Hendren 1993. and Kipke 1999. RAISING TEENS Thanks in part to some of these new abilities. they often begin to step outside of both their own perspective and that of another person. Susman et al. and interactively. Ponton 1997. including a greater capacity for abstract thinking. Crowell. and to use this new ability in solving problems. Elkind 1967. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT with deepened understanding of issues like friendship. cognitive. and Eichorn 1985. Furman and Wehner 1997. Selman 1980. reactive steps backward. and Feiring 1999. promoting identity development and decision-making skills. and social aspects of development play out gradually. and with a greater capacity for relationships. These new abilities can include more sophisticated decision-making. unevenly. changes that the parenting role both responds to and supports. •  Damon 1997. and religion. 1987. Kagan 1972. Keating 1980. identity. Selman and Schultz 1990. academic study. Kuhn and Angelev 1976. and complex work. and have less  Furman. Selman 1980. Crowell. and the forging of a sexual identity. Selman and Schultz 1990. Kipke 1999a. perhaps because they use different information in making judgment calls. Many researchers and practitioners argue that. This can be a time rich in introspection and reflection. Brown. and Shepard 1997. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Gordon 1996. In a related development. Flavell. Also. Elkind 1984. In a mix of great leaps forward.” now they typically can do so more consistently. Koch 1993. Eisenberg. like the stubbornness of toddlers. Petersen. With regard to sexuality.The developmental tasks of adolescence confront parents with a dazzling and sometimes daunting array of changes in their teen. Kohlberg and Gilligan 1972. and Miller 1993. some kinds of risk taking in adolescence are essential to healthy growth. BrooksGunn and Reiter 1990. as physical. •  Fischhoff. as well as a shift toward a future orientation and greater ability to set and plan for realistic goals. Savin-Williams and Rodriguez 1993. McClintock and Herdt 1996. Miller and Benson 1999. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. Brooks-Gunn. Baumrind 1987. On a different front. romantic relationships. and Becker 1992. parents are likely to notice surges of new sophistication in their teenager’s ability to think. Dyk 1993. many adolescents become more proficient at several kinds of coping skills. Collins and Laursen 1992. Katchadourian 1990. parents are likely to witness not only a physical “growth spurt” and sexual milestones. although risk taking is thought to increase from childhood to adolescence. Eccles. teens typically become better at perspective taking. Worell and Danner 1989. and conflict-resolution skills. Although as preadolescents they probably learned how to “put themselves in another person’s shoes. 34 . but also experimentation with forms of sexual behavior. there is debate on whether adolescents in fact take greater and more frequent risks than adults or whether it merely seems so. Lightfoot 1997. Susman 1997. Damon and Hart 1982. Brooks-Gunn and Paikoff 1997. Buchanan.
Hartup and Overhauser 1991. Ponton 1997. Friendships typically become more intimate. Elkind 1967. Selman 1980. •  Baumeister and Vohs in press.) RAISING TEENS PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT At the same time. Taylor. •  Maccoby 1998. Gilligan and Attanucci 1988. Erikson 1968. and with different levels of thought and understanding. and mood swings. Kohlberg 1969. Adults and teens alike experience adolescence temporarily as a time of more intense emotions. Way 1998. Savin-Williams and Berndt 1990. as well as for youngsters of color. as teens struggle to identify a true self amid seeming contradictions in the way they feel and behave in different situations. Brooks-Gunn and Reiter 1990. •  Damon 1999. and Becker 1992. and teens prefer to turn to parents for advice on major life decisions. Coles 1997. including ways they may be related to changing hormones and other aspects of development. Also related to abstract thinking and perspective taking. McGoldrick. more central to teen lives. Harter 1999. Carnegie Council 1995. Harter and Buddin 1987. hair. as well as insights from their new skills in perspective-taking and empathizing. Brown 1993. Fischer. Berndt and Perry 1990. temporary “identities” by means of alternative styles of dress. and most researchers see this change as a significant milestone of social development. and Pearce 1996. Gilligan. Eccles. Selman and Schultz 1990. Kroger 1996. and Kipke 1999. Brown 1993. Savin-Williams and Berndt 1990. It is increasingly argued that doing so is important for European American youngsters. Scales and Leffert 1999. •  Larson and Richards 1994. Crowell. Youniss and Smollar 1985. (See “Model and Consult” section of the next chapter. 1997. are not clear. However. more time-consuming. 1991. A special challenge arises for teenagers in the United States around forging a sense of ethnic identity. Selman 1980. Youniss and Smollar 1985. McAdoo 1995. Hamilton 1990. There is a similar progression toward more sophisticated thinking about religion and spirituality. and a cornerstone for learning about adult relationships. •  Kipke 1999a. selfconsciousness. Furman and Wehner 1997. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Way 1998. Csikszentmihalyi and Larson 1984. •  Wallace and Williams 1997. Peer friendships take on new importance and meaning in adolescence. Kindlon and Thompson 1999. Garbarino 1999. This important. or fewer resources for recovering from failures. Marcia 1980. Teens also develop a more sophisticated understanding of feelings. Strasburger 1995. Shaver. Beyth-Marom and Fischhoff 1997. such as the ability to think more effectively about the intentions behind actions and about hidden emotions. who must come to understand the role of ethnicity in their own identity and to develop an appreciation for the diversity of ethnicities in the United States. who must forge their identity in the face of racism and  Fischhoff.information about consequences. Steinberg 1991a. Giordano. Fowler et al. and some say central. 35 . and lifestyle. and Sullivan 1995. Newberger 1999. in which their understanding of right and wrong is no longer based on concrete rules but rather on principles about justice and care. Included in the search are aspects of gender identity. and other issues. manner. although the causes. Kohlberg and Gilligan 1972. and Carnochan 1990. Surrey 1991. Hoffman 1980. teenagers typically undergo major shifts in their thinking about morality. Lightfoot 1997. 1982. issue in adolescence often brings times of experimentation with different. Selman and Schultz 1990. Scales 1991. Kegan 1994. as well as vocational identity. jewelry. music. fewer options for protecting themselves from consequences. more stable. Larson and Richards 1994. teens are struggling to establish key aspects of identity. Brown and Gilligan 1992. Buchanan. Vondracek 1994. researchers also note that relationships with parents remain important. Damon and Hart 1982. Pollack 1998.
García Coll. and providing an environment that supports healthy growth. family. McGoldrick. Vondracek. and Wheeler 2000. Nightingale and Wolverton 1993. Brodzinsky. community.” are very similar at the general level—involving economic self-sufficiency. Tatum 1997. and Becker 1992. criticism and self-criticism. and opportunities for a richer and more sophisticated range of activities in family life. such as in their capacity for abstract thinking and the processing of emotion. and distancing from PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT family and family activities. Coleman and Hendry 1990. All told. and citizenship. McCubbin et al. Fischer and Rose 1994. Graber. and Brodzinsky 1998. Giordano. Collins 1990. adolescents. Noller 1994. and Brillon 1995. Youniss and Yates 1997. and many other factors. some of these growth spurts in the brain may coincide with developmental changes in teens. mentoring. and Petersen 1996. 2000. help teens to learn the skills and manage the multiple demands of increasingly mature roles and responsibilities with regard to education. forging a positive relationship with their teens. Hauser 1991. All these developments. physical and mental health. Eccles. 1998a. García Coll. new and exhilarating options for intellectual and emotional connection. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. •  Collins et al. Youniss and Smollar 1985. and young adults are growing and changing. peer. separating in some ways and connecting more deeply in others. Kegan 1994. Although the research is preliminary. and Pearce 1996. and Schulenberg 1986. 1999. Grotevant 1998. •  Giedd et al. much as they are earlier in childhood. and work experiences. and for assisting parents in setting realistic expectations for their teens. Hill et al. Brooks-Gunn. inconsistency. McCubbin et al. in coordination with appropriate school. indecisiveness. self-absorption. and Pearce 1996. accommodating and honoring the needs and achievements of the other developmental changes and the family’s values and goals. and Petersen 1996. Bengtson and Kuypers 1971. family. so that ultimately they can meet the expectations for young adulthood. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. and citizenship—but they vary profoundly in details and timing. •  Susman 1997. Meyer. This new research has the potential to serve as a powerful vehicle for communicating with parents about the importance of adolescent development. Brooks-Gunn. Swanson. Lerner. and in other special circumstances. and Brillon 1995. •  Arnett 2000. Benson et al. All these changes impact teens’ relationships with parents. potentially creating more conflict. 36 . Spencer. Fischer and Rose 1994. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Bavolek 1997. Giordano. McAdoo 1999b. Paikoff. Zeldin. Yurgelun-Todd 1998. Harkness and Super 1996. occupation. 2000. Research is also exploring the relationships between teen behavior and other biological changes. family relationships. and Cunningham 1991.discrimination. Nightingale and Wolverton 1993. •  Rhodes in press. Arnett 1999. Smith. they trigger ways in which parents and teens together renegotiate their relationship. Hamilton and Lempert 1996. •  Davies and Rose 1999. Additional challenges arise for teens in adoptive and immigrant families. such as those involving hormones. On the other hand. •  Grotevant et al. emotional variability. Meyer. McGoldrick. as described in the pages that follow. Spencer and Markstrom-Adams 1990. Diamond and Hopson 1998. Meyer. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Holmbeck. 1999. García Coll. Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider 2000. as indicated in the chapter on “Report Background. Graber. 1996. depending on a family’s ethnicity. and Brillon 1995. Camino. a teen’s abilities. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. they also engender more breadth and depth of discussion. Buchanan. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. Damon 1997. Larson et al. 1998. RAISING TEENS A note on brain development. 1994. These expectations. One exciting area of research in adolescent development is the study of ways in which the brains of preadolescents.  McAdoo 1999b.
illness. clinicians. •  Grotevant 1998. or immigrant status. and the process of responding to those challenges can produce significant developmental growth. For some parents. typically linking these stages to the child’s age and the societal expectations for that age. Speisman. decide on courses of action. which needs to happen in all relationships. •  García Coll. •  Demo. Steinberg 1994. Hamner and Turner 1996. as well as vice versa. Galinsky 1987. and Fine 2000. Surrey. having perspective on the child’s point of view. Many theoreticians. 37 . raising teenagers can be a stimulus for further development in adults. Allen. poverty. and putting the parent-child relationship in a context of larger principles. A few writers have described parenting as going through phases. developmental changes are likely to be occurring in their parents. a parent confronted with a teenager who has returned home after curfew may be more effective if he or she can think about the issue as one of negotiating boundaries. Erikson 1985. Newberger 1980. depending on their own level of development. as parents acquire step-children or have second families. •  Grotevant 1998. They observe that and communicate with their teen differently. and Weingarten 1998. •  Unell and Wyckoff 2000. Kegan 1994. •  Kegan 1994. these challenges may also come at different points in life. Heath 1996a. and researchers have come to see human development as occurring not just in childhood and adolescence.b. Smetana and Asquith 1994. Belenky. 1978. Bond. RAISING TEENS PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT Researchers have come to see human development as occurring not just in childhood and adolescence. homophobia. each set of changes interacting with the other. observing that the developmental changes interact with each other. Steinberg 1994. •  Kegan 1994. Adults may be baffled when confronted with some of the challenges posed by teenagers’ new behavior and ways of thinking. such as disability. Heath 1991. For example. With the increase in divorce and remarriage.Just as developmental changes are occurring in adolescents. 1986. and more than once. and Costos 1983. but throughout the life span. Some scholars have also addressed the relationship between parents’ development and their adolescent’s development. Furthermore. Belenky et al. •  Kegan 1994. Smetana 1994. working through moral concepts of rights and responsibilities. Levinson 1996. Kegan 1982. Ryff and Seltzer 1996. but throughout the life span. Galinsky 1987. Hauser 1991. include defining their own separate identity. in an interwoven pattern. and hence to engage in developmental growth. Areas in which parents are particularly likely to be challenged. and Weinstock 1997. 1968. Although development in adulthood is more variable than in childhood. parents interpret their teenager’s behavior. incarceration. Newberger 1980. it can potentially bring major changes. rather than as a personal insult. racism. developmental growth may also be influenced by special challenges. White.  Grotevant 1998. including fundamental shifts in ways of thinking about relating to one’s children.
Silverberg 1996. and available services. adult and adolescent developmental changes are resonating with changes in the surrounding environment. However. and agendas. commercials. for both families in poverty and those in the midPRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT dle class. schools. Paikoff. Schoen et al. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Worlds widen and sometimes collide. Also notable is the decline in services to meet the specialized needs of teens and their parents. and set of procedures for parent involvement. Customs. most American youngsters enter “middle school. curriculum. legal and health-care policies. the changes at adolescence may be particularly poignant and stressful for a number of reasons. 1993. such as changes in schooling practices. McCubbin et al. 1986. employers.b. Holmbeck. in that the context in which they must negotiate their development undergoes changes itself. •  Belenky. Adding to the complexity.Furthermore. creating the conditions for personal problems as well as personal growth. their teen’s development may remind parents of unresolved issues from their own teen years. 1998. numerous. Ryff and Seltzer 1996. the changes in teens often involve increased moodiness. Newberger 1980. more direct experiences with racism. 38 . While some of these changes can be exciting and rewarding. and legal prosecution as an adult. Jackson and Rodriguez-Tomé 1993. For example. often do not give guidance about healthy development to parents of teens to the extent that they do to parents of younger children. for example. •  Carnegie Council 1995. Steinberg 1994. social atmosphere. teens spend less time than younger children in the company of adults and less time in supervised activity. •  Grotevant 1998. Elkind 1993. Carnegie Council 1995. and laws open doors to greater risks. •  Garbarino 1999. Carnegie Council 1995. 1997. the ground underneath teens and parents keeps shifting. and neighborhoods present teens and parents with differing values. RAISING TEENS raising teens can also be a time of significant stress for parents. 1999. as peer groups. expectations. Schoen et al. Physicians. Davis 1985. Belenky et al. Kegan 1994. Ryff and Seltzer 1996. including the fact that the changes in the teens themselves are so fast. for many parents. and privacy rules begin to emerge. unrelated to whether and to what extent their children are having difficulty with adoles-  Eccles et al. drinking. Holden 1997. 1968. Steinberg 1994. 1978. and profound. Erikson 1985. but rather the continuation of a progression that began even before the child was born. the process of making internal changes in response to their child’s changes is not new. Crnic and Acevedo 1995. and conflict. sometime between fifth and seventh grade. distancing. such as driving. Presumably. Also. Collins 1990. drugs. Heath 1996a. Bond. and Weinstock 1997. Studies suggest that many parents have at least some difficulty coping with the challenges posed by their children’s adolescence. Levinson 1996. Galinsky 1987.” with an entirely different and more difficult structure. Kegan 1982. and these issues often coincide with other developmental stressors such as aging and caring for elderly parents.
 Significant numbers of parents report higher levels of marital conflict and dissatisfaction. Taylor and Wang 1997. 1990. •  Dishion. Giordano. for example. Parents take measure of the job they have done in raising their children. Gorman 1998. telephone. a “cutting of the apron strings” so that ultimately adolescents can move on to become autonomous individuals. Small and Eastman 1991. their leaving home. Meyer. 1996. Weingarten 1998. In some ethnic and research traditions. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT their work are less susceptible to some of these stressors. DeSantis. adolescence has been thought of as a time for wrenching separation of children from their parents. as they welcome or at least tolerate the developmental challenges in themselves that their child’s adolescence poses. family. and Markstrom-Adams 1994. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. and that par- In spite of all these changes and challenges. but also significant ongoing connection. The particular balance between autonomy and connection varies among and within ethnic groups in the United States. Hauser 1991. and their establishing identity and setting life goals just as parents are assessing theirs. and money. •  McAdoo 1999b. as well as improve outcomes for teens. their seeking independence. more depression and anxiety. and less satisfaction with work. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Coleman and Hendry 1990. inter- Researchers in the last two decades have observed parents and teenagers to be evolving together toward a relationship that includes somewhat greater autonomy. Paikoff. in most families there is no serious disruption in parent-teen relationships. •  Steinberg 1994. Holmbeck. lower self-esteem. Youniss and Smollar 1985. Arnett 1999. emphasizing family cohesiveness. that a majority of parents report no change or even an improvement in their mental health and sense of wellbeing. and Asian Pacific American families. Some research suggests that parents who are more invested in ents who must cope with racism. Adams. Galinsky 1987. and Brillon 1995. Steinberg 1994. with many Hispanic. Also encouraging are data suggesting that parenting support programs can assist parents in coping with these stresses. Montemayor and Flannery 1991. and Henderson 1992. Davis 1985. •  Silverberg 1996. García Coll. researchers in the last two decades have observed a rather different process at work in most families. McGoldrick. and Pearce 1996. Steinberg 1994. Larson et al. Collins 1992. •  Kegan 1994. in which both parents and teenagers are evolving together toward a relationship that includes somewhat greater autonomy. Newberger 1980. and Poulin 1999. Carnegie Council 1995 •  Steinberg 2000. Steinberg 1994. Davis 1985. their change in size and hence physical power.  Grotevant 1998. Gullotta.cence themselves. 1994. Kumpfer 1999. However. their distancing themselves emotionally. and life than during children’s younger years. across a variety of ethnic groups. Native American. 39 RAISING TEENS . Grotevant 1998. but also significant ongoing connection. Youniss. McCord. psychologically as well as financially independent of their family. including teenagers’ sexual maturing. and the temporary and permanent disappointments can take a heavy toll. •  Steinberg 2000. poverty. and similar issues are affected more so. their questioning parents’ values. their forming strong peer and/or romantic relationships. Montemayor 1983. African American. Research has pointed to a minefield of potential sources of psychological stress for parents of teens. It is important to note. however. their pressing for a greater share of the family’s resources such as cars. Galinsky 1987. their de-idealizing parents and seeing them as fallible.
Meyer. guiding. and Brillon 1995. rather to become different. In short. in order to make room for a more adult relationship that meets cultural expectations and provides necessary support. García Coll. a teenager or preteen who suddenly becomes more antagonistic is sometimes showing signs of important developmental change.) For their part. such as a lack of economic opportunities or the high cost of living. Overall.dependence. •  Arnett 1999. •  Steinberg 2000. Like a toddler who suddenly starts saying “no” to a parent. •  Holmbeck. Steinberg 1991a. and must change significantly. most parents and teens report that they continue to share a secure attachment and fundamental values. Grotevant 1998. Grotevant 1998.b. RAISING TEENS Despite dramatic changes in adolescents. honoring and accommodating their new capabilities and responsibilities. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. however. with differences of degree among ethnic groups. teens nonetheless challenge parents to stay the course. Laursen. nurturing. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Holmbeck. high levels of conflict in teens tend to be temporary. the adolescent’s task could be said to be one of separating in some Teens themselves report that they neither need nor want their relationship with parents to become distant. their families. 1999. Meyer. Paikoff. Coy. Hodapp 1995. and/or respect for elders. their relationships. Hauser 1991. but PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT ways. a decrease in emotional closeness. do. such as the presence of disabilities. while maintaining and redefining connections in others. Collins 1990. Noller 1994. Coleman and Hendry 1990. 40 . and of environmental factors. as teens become older. •  Arnett 1999. and the surrounding environment. appreciation. The degree of a child’s eventual autonomy is also influenced by individual differences. and Brillon 1995. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. the basic functions of parents really change very little from childhood to adolescence. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Conflict between parents and teens tends to decline in frequency. Garwick et al. and affection for their parents. a decline in time spent together. and Pearce 1996. but rather to become different. and advocating for their children. Noller 1994. Strasburger 1995. Paikoff. Paikoff. Meyer. Noller 1994. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. •  Read 2000. supervising. and a higher level of disagreement and conflict. and Brillon 1995. Harkness and Super 1996. although not in intensity. Paikoff. while many European American families focus more on individuality and fostering independence. Holmbeck. Giordano. Behind these conflicts. Larson et al. with only five to 20 percent having serious difficulties that affect teens’ overall respect. Coleman and Hendry 1990. García Coll. parents and teens are also seen to be negotiating important issues around autonomy and building new skills for conflict resolution and problem solving. parents generally report that they experience more criticism from their adolescents. Pushing away. McGoldrick. honoring and accommodating their new capabilities and responsibilities. It is the strategies for carrying out these functions that can. Teens need parents to continue to be parents. Coleman and Hendry 1990. as with toddlers. Arnett 1999. and Collins 1998. Holmbeck. García Coll. as well as providing a safe envi-  Bavolek 1997. Also. Surveys find that parent-teen relationships remain generally positive. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. (See “Love and Connect” section in next chapter. •  Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. 1996. Teens themselves report that they neither need nor want their relationship with parents to become distant.
for peer influence in some areas but not others. they do so in ways that are often abrasive and aggressive. for privacy on some matters but not others. they are focusing on relationahead in perspective taking. and to establish a unique identity. Holden 1997. Requiring momentby-moment judgment calls. providing protection and fostering new learning. Holmbeck. which makes varying demands on parents at varying times. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. and for negotiation and decision making on some issues but not others. teens want their help except when they don’t. Zill and Nord 1994. Coleman and Hendry 1990. sometimes. Youniss and Smollar 1985. Steinberg 1990. •  Furstenberg et al. teens need to take risks as a way of learning. they require it just at a time when parents are losing many of their previous options for indirect feedback about their children from teachers. Frustrating parents. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Overall the strategies for supporting healthy adolescent development require continual balancing between holding on and letting go. adolescent development is occurring simultaneously.”) ships with peers. 1999. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Noller 1994. challenging the continuity of the very relationship they seek to transform. Noller 1994. on many fronts. Holmbeck. teens want to be with them except when they don’t. in ways not unlike those that have been articulated for early childhood or childhood as a whole. and unevenly. and others. (See chapter on “The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents.ronment and secure boundaries. adolescent development and changing environments demand strategies that are often different from earlier childhood—and more complicated. sometimes. •  Furstenberg et al. Throughout. However. •  Galambos and Ehrenberg 1997. teens are working on separating. Kipke 1999b. taking the emotional high ground by providing opportunities for closeness that teens can sometimes accept and sometimes reject. practicing decision making. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Paikoff. sometimes retrenching in order to come up with a higher level of integration. Frydenberg 1997. Winnicott 1965. teens need an environment that provides opportunities for experimentation at certain times but not others. physicians. in difficult and sometimes ironic ways. Adding to the complexity. and teens behave in excitingly more mature ways—except when they don’t. and developing identity. in order to sort out their similarities to and differences from their parents and others. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT Furthermore. 41 RAISING TEENS . Paikoff. lacking social perspective and skills. On the other hand. 1994. teens need privacy from parents in order to experiment with separation and individuation. offering flexibility and maintaining limits. However. Teens also need to generate conflict. For example. sometimes with adults. much of their risk taking takes place beyond the reach of direct adult supervision and in arenas where the stakes are extremely high. 1999. Smith et al. sometimes on reconnecting. •  Carnegie Council 1995. However. Bornstein 1995b. they are surging  Greenspan 1997. they need parents to remain available. Sometimes. Beyth-Marom and Fischhoff 1997. friends’ parents.
the teen. Noller 1994. 2000. Steinberg and Darling 1994. Surrey. The applicability of this particular framework to the parenting of adolescents in impoverished or high-risk environments and to the parenting of children of color has been questioned and is currently under examination. such as ease with transitions and new situations. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT including lower rates of depression. Studies using this framework have found the combined style to be associated with a number of outcomes that are often valued in mainstream American society. Chao 1994. some producing variation in the way parents respond to their children across time and circumstances. mental health. Mason. Holden 1997. in teens as well as younger children. 2000. anxiety. Baumrind 1996. Ryff and Seltzer 1996.b. temperament. Research and theory regarding parenting across the age span have identified many influences on a parent’s decisions and behavior. and from circumstance to circumstance. and Rodriguez 1998. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. some producing continuity. such as the presence of disabilities or chronic illness. Noller 1994. Youniss and Smollar 1985. Holmbeck. self-reliance. Strategies vary from parent to parent. work orientation. Cauce. Robins. Mason. gender. Chao 1994. a combination of warmth and authoritativeness. 1991. and optimism. and Gonzales 1997. Steinberg and Darling 1994. social competence. 1994. self-control. Baumrind 1996. Belsky. This approach has also been associated with risk prevention. Holden 1997. Smith et al. and skills. the situation. developmental level. Grotevant 1998. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. such as fluency in the English language and an understanding of the American educational system. 1994. One set of influences comes from the parent’s individual characteristics. such as capacity for perspective-taking. including social confidence. and Gonzales 1997. support and challenge—that correlates with lower risks and higher success for teens. resiliency.  Fletcher.Parenting strategies often work much better in combination rather than separately. Taylor 1997. Every parent-teen interaction takes place in a context that profoundly RAISING TEENS affects what parents do. U. such as a history of trauma and abuse. Scales and Leffert 1999. beliefs and attitudes. Steinberg et al. Holden and Miller 1999. Gorman 1998. One body of research identifies and describes this combination as an “authoritative” parenting style. •  Collins et al. Research finds that it is often a combination of approaches or strategies—in particular. 2000. early experience. •  Collins et al.S. and should do. Taylor. and Gamble 1984. and Weingarten 1998. Luster and Okagaki 1993b. such as problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. Holden 1997. Steinberg. depending on the characteristics of the parent.” warmth with control. 42 . U. Bornstein 1998. and susceptibility to negative peer pressure.S. Paikoff. Larson and Richards 1994. Smith et al. Cauce. Coleman and Hendry 1990. and Sellers 1999. Brody and Flor 1998. moral development. Heath 1996a. combining “responsiveness” with “demandingness. Carnegie Council 1995. Small and Eastman 1991. and the world that surrounds them. Grotevant 1998. Each parent unconsciously or consciously shapes his or her strategies to fit factors that often include his or her physical health. Seaton. García Coll. •  Collins et al. delinquent activity. knowledge. such as the presence of depression. such as religious and cultural beliefs about gender roles of mothers and fathers. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. daughters and sons.
Relationships are influenced. (g) cultural context. disability. and Gamble 1984. the dissonance between family values and those of the larger society. for example. Grotevant 1998. and Gamble 1984. 2000. such as medical. and knowledge. 1993. Bogenschneider. and Fine 2000. step-parents. Belsky.b. •  Demo. Holden and Miller 1999. such as work-related stress and flexibility to attend to teens’ needs during work hours. special needs. McCubbin et al. Furstenberg et al.In addition. In fact. extended family members. as well as shaping. •  Collins et al. Brodzinsky. Eccles and Harold 1996. educational. when parents are adoptive parents. Luster and Okagaki 1993a. (d) family resources. such as practices that do or do not encourage parent involvement or equal opportunity. Csikszentmihalyi et al. (c) social systems. responding to. Surrey. Sameroff. such as level of poverty and crime.  Collins et al. Smith et al. Demo. Holden 1997. Heath 1996a. and (h) community resources. Grotevant 1998. and Gamble 1984.b. extended family members. but also its length. and social programs and services. continuity. children’s characteristics and behavior. early experience. foster parents. Robins. when parents are adoptive parents. Belsky. for immigrant and many other families. Robins. 1999. and Eccles 1998. Small and Eastman 1991. temperament. parents may respond differently to a younger adolescent than an older one. 1997. In essence. and to a more restrained adolescent than a more active one. and Tsay 1997. and Weingarten 1998. The history of the parent-teen relationship also weighs in. Crockett 1997. Kipke 1999b. developmental level. including (a) the parent’s relationship with his or her partner. Holden 1997. (b) employment factors. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. this host of factors within and surrounding the parent-child interaction shapes a parent’s response and pattern of responses at any given time with any given child. 2000. and other circumstances. Paikoff. Feldman and Rosenthal 1994. partners of biological parents. and Fine 2000. Grotevant 1998. Smith. some of the same characteristics are important in children as in parents. including health. and parents who have immigrated to the RAISING TEENS PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT United States. Holden and Miller 1999. 1999. McCubbin et al. 2000. 1994. Steinberg 1994. (f ) school characteristics. such as the level and persistence of poverty. Taken together. parents who have immigrated to the United States. and parents whose physical and/or emotional connection with their child has been disrupted by incarceration. stepparents. foster parents. Surrounding the influences that are generated by the parent and child are a whole set of factors in the larger environment. Peck. Allen. Bornstein 1998. 43 . for example. García Coll. such as the presence of other supportive adults. Bronfenbrenner 1986. physical distance. Relationships are influenced. Holden and Miller 1999. age. such as social attitudes toward teenagers and media portrayals of parenting and teens. including not only its past quality. and special circumstances. to a second child than a first one. partners of biological parents. and with some developmental phases than others. Garbarino 1995. illness. (e) neighborhood characteristics. special talents and gifts. •  Collins et al. and Brodzinsky 1998. McLoyd 1998. Holden 1997. Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider 2000. loss of custody. Some parents find their temperaments fit better with some teen temperaments than others. 1999. Small and Eastman 1991. Heath 1996a. teens themselves influence parenting strategies. Robins. For example. such as stresses between them. Small. Holmbeck. parenting strategies often evolve interactively. and. Belsky. McAdoo 1999b. Allen.
1994. How to get help in filling gaps in parenting skills. • PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT How to access and evaluate community resources. • How to plan consciously and proactively a family environment that offers a healthy level of challenge. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. where additional knowledge and stronger skills may be needed. and why. Steinberg 1990. search for identity. level of conflict. How to adapt to a child’s emerging sexuality. Myers-Walls 1999. desire for privacy. Baumrind 1996. and dependence on friends.b. parents often need new knowledge and enhanced skills to carry out their role. include the following:  • • What to expect from teens. • How to maintain a set of supportive family activities. • • • • • RAISING TEENS How to negotiate conflicts and differences of opinion in ways that meet the needs of both parent and teen. Noller 1994. • How to give teens roles in the family and community that are genuinely useful and important to the family’s well-being. How to meet appropriately one’s own needs for love and support. expectation. rituals. Strasburger 1995. and peers.Given the complex and profound changes occurring in adolescence. • What not to expect: the warning signs that parents and teens may be having difficulties requiring special assistance.  Jarrett 1999. neither too much nor too little for teens’ growth and development. stimulation. distancing. Carnegie Council 1995. interests. Areas that are likely to be new to parents. Frydenberg 1997. where appropriate. Parenting adolescents demands information and skills that parents may not previously have acquired. what is normal. their activities. and need for respectful problem solving. • How to adapt one’s style of listening and talking to accommodate and facilitate a teen’s new way of thinking. 44 . • How to design a home environment that is welcoming to the family’s teens and. how these developments resonate with changes in teens. Kegan 1994. Heath 1996a. and risk. and cultural traditions. • How to enjoy some of the unique characteristics of adolescence in general and each teen in particular. Smith et al. How to accommodate powerful and sometimes sudden changes in a teen’s mood. What to expect within oneself. what typically changes at midlife. and why.
gender roles. including extended family. Teens need not only safe and supportive home environments. must come from the rest of society. • How to offer information and guidance to teens in effective ways. How and when to interact with middle. McCord. By providing an environment that is nurturing. express. parenting skills. 1997. Greenspan 1999. and Poulin 1999. Unquestionably. Werner 1990. A great deal. parents contribute significantly to the healthy development of teens. Haggerty et al. are important influences on healthy development. 1997. coaches. the impression sometimes conveyed in the media that damage done in the earlier years cannot be repaired is misleading. Carnegie Council 1995. kinship networks. including by networking with other adults. and it helps significantly if strong parent-child relationships. and explore with teens one’s parental values around issues such as sex. even into adulthood. educational opportunities. stimulating. •  Hauser 1999. They need physical care. where it is enough to monitor indirectly. morality. They need the encouragement and guidance not only of parents. it is usually not too late PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT for parents to make a difference. medical care. including parent guidance and connection.  Shure 2000. 45 RAISING TEENS . Youniss and Yates 1997. Parents can’t do it alone. employers. Taylor and Biglan 1998. • How to identify. mentors. However. and where it is time to let go. however. McLoyd 1990. many are not.• How to distinguish among areas of teen behavior where it remains important to be involved directly.and high-school teachers and staff and other adults in a teen’s life. Kagan 1998. but also of other caring adults. and supportive. diversity. both to gather information and to advocate on behalf of the teen. protective. responsibility. Jarrett 1999. Noam 1999. In fact. Kumpfer 1999. and more. Also important is the role of teens themselves. While some of the circumstances that affect the resilience of youngsters are beyond the reach of parents. religious leaders. Even when teens are already in trouble. and risk taking. the role of parents can be critical in reducing risks of poverty and racism. and interventions that strengthen family relationships and parenting skills are among the most effective strategies for addressing youth problems such as delinquency and substance abuse. teachers. religion. early emotional experiences. A sizable proportion of children are able to overcome early adversity. •  Dishion. Garbarino 1999. 1996. but also safe and supportive schools and neighborhoods. • • How to monitor behavior. and many who are “at risk” are able to tap into and benefit from new resources when they become available. and family rituals and activities are in place as a foundation for adolescence.
Smith et al. and social networks. 1999. Hewlett and West 1998. working together. Carnegie Council 1995. Scales and Leffert 1999. too. Galinsky 1999. 1990. McAdoo 1999b. They need adults who are available to join them in forming a support system for their teens. 1999.employment opportunities. Kipke 1999a. teens. Eccles and Harold 1996. social networks. Like horizontal dimensions cutting across vertical dimensions. Holden 1997. •  Galinsky 1999. •  Youth Development 2000. parents need supportive environments to be effective in undertaking their tasks. adequate food and shelter. Harrison et al. 1997. PRINCIPLES AND CONTEXT All told. Garbarino 1995. Carnegie Council 1995. •  Eccles and Harold 1996. McLoyd 1998. and Bathurst 1995. and community resources. They need jobs that provide not only financial support and job satisfaction. need medical care. Gottfried. volunteers. Bogenschneider. Gottfried. Furstenberg et al. Peck. Scales and Leffert 1999. Furstenberg et al. and Tsay 1997. Scales and Leffert 1999. •  Furstenberg et al. employers. practitioners. and policy makers work together in fostering positive youth development. need learning opportunities. Hewlett and West 1998. Steinberg 1994. they need communities in which families. 1994. safe environments. to provide the context for healthy growth. Kipke 1999a. They. these principles cut across the Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents. Small. RAISING TEENS  Forum on Adolescence 2000. 46 . Laub and Lauritsen 1998. which will be presented in the next chapter. too. and freedom from the insidious effects of racism and poverty. the preceding principles capture the context in which parents carry out their role in raising adolescents. They need all these factors. schools. They. but also the flexibility to meet their children’s needs. Taylor and Roberts 1995. Sameroff. 1999. By the same token. They need school practices that encourage parent involvement. employment opportunities. McAdoo 1995. In short. and Eccles 1998. media.
RAISING TEENS 47 . what does research tell us about the basic components of the parenting role in adolescence? The Harvard Project found that the ways in which parents contribute significantly to healthy adolescent development fall into five categories.The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents With these general points in mind.
•  Holden 1997. •  Greenspan 1997. They acknowledge the unique skills and roles that come into play as parents both hold on to some aspects of the old relationship and let go of others. such as monitoring and advising. At the same time. and navigating the larger world. as opposed to other adults and resources in teens’ lives. the role of parents during adolescence. embracing and empowering their teen. reflective of the teen’s THE FIVE BASICS movement into a larger and larger world. (3) guide and limit. (4) providing information and consultation for understanding. across children’s ages and across disciplinary approaches.The Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents Broadly speaking. Smith et al. There are significant overlaps. 48 . (4) model and consult. •  Small and Eastman 1991. including other caring adults.  the role of parents in earlier age periods. guidance. by carrying out some old and new tasks in some old and new ways. Although they were reached independently. the Project’s conclusions about the five key areas of parental influence are strikingly similar to findings from other initiatives. •  Scales and Leffert 1999. and (5) providing and advocating for resources. interpreting. and environmental resources. the Project has underscored the kinds of transitional parenting functions. 1994. the role of parents across the age span. and (5) provide and advocate—the Five Basics of Parenting Adolescents. and the role of adults more generally in adolescence. For example. the Project has highlighted advocacy as a separate arena because of the increasing need in the teen years for parents to seek out resources beyond  Carnegie Council 1995. however. the five components of the parenting role that emerge from research can be organized as: (1) offering teens love and connection. All are a continuation of parenting functions from childhood. as opposed to earlier childhood. safety. (2) monitoring teen behavior and well-being. that move parent-child relationships from the kinds of parental guidance that are more typical during childhood to those that are more common during adulthood. including negotiating and setting limits. Bornstein 1995b. (2) monitor and observe. these five categories are unusual in emphasizing the needs that are particularly important in adolescence. Alvy 1994. but with critical changes in emphasis and strategy to accommodate the dramatic transition that is underway from childhood to adulthood. Similarly. They move from those that center mostly on the home environment to those that center mostly on influencing the supportiveness of the outside environment. for example. The five categories move through issues around providing love. through a process of modeling and ongoing dialogue. among these categories and those developed from analysis of research regarding the role of families in adolescence. and the roles that are particularly influential from parents. (3) offering guidance. RAISING TEENS A few notes on this list. The Project abbreviated these categories under five headlines as follows: (1) love and connect.
Steinberg 1990. Reiss 2000. 2000. Holmbeck. because the prevalence of abuse in adolescence is often seriously underestimated. school performance. Garbarino 1999. which has been variously described and studied as acceptance. also indirectly 49 .the home. withdrawal  See also Small and Eastman 1991. both mothers and fathers. There is no question that teens also want increasing independence and increasing participation in decisions about themselves and family matters. after-school activities. negative peer influence. this Project elected to underscore the issue of abuse in a separate note. as well as higher levels of self-reliance. “First Do No Harm. and delinquency. and support. (See following section. Maccoby and Martin 1983. Love and Connect Teens need parents to develop and maintain a relationship with them that offers support and acceptance. Jessor and Jessor 1977. •  Collins et al. identity formation. Takanishi 1993. Resnick et al. Paikoff. though providing a safe environment is sometimes subsumed under another category in other analyses. Youniss and Smollar 1985. 1994. when questioned in surveys and other studies. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. and success in future relationships. In addition. Collins 1990. Gobeli 1999. Hauser 1991. as are its consequences. Steinberg 1996. such as setting limits and offering guidance. they seek a new kind of connection. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS spread agreement that relationships with parents remain important in affection. Paikoff. encouragement. Hauser 1991. 1994. Coleman and Hendry 1990. one that allows for increasing maturity and mastery of adult roles. Carnegie Council 1995. and other adults in teens’ lives. and identity. for example. •  Garbarino 1999. Holmbeck. 1994. and community support. Larson and Richards 1994. Kegan 1994. Kegan 1994. The change—and challenge—for many parents is that this connectedness and support must take place in the context of their teens’ increasing efforts to establish their own values. Gray and Steinberg 1999b. Galinsky 1999. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. but rather than disconnection. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. strengthens the ability of parents to carry out other components of their role. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Smith et al. Smith et al. self-image. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Studies find that supportive relationships with both mothers and fathers are linked. career development. Holmbeck. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. A baseline of nurturing.S. Gray and Steinberg 1999b. attest to their continued dependence on their parents’ attention and support. there is widehealthy teen development. 1997. Teens themselves. National Commission 1991. Garbarino 1999. U. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Noller 1994.”) Here. •  Bostrom 2000b. emotional distancing. Kipke 1999a. then. ideas. and helps teens handle the stresses of their new roles. manifesting itself in such behaviors as increased criticism. warmth. Smith 1999. Paikoff. Scales and Leffert 1999. peers. with lower risks of substance abuse. Steinberg 1990. to supplement and enhance what parents can provide in areas such as education.S. connection. Although there is debate among researchers about the relative importance of parents. •  Bornstein 1995b. Shulman and SeiffgeKrenke 1997. Holmbeck 1996. Noller 1994. employment. while accommodating and affirming the teen’s increasing maturity. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Coleman and Hendry 1990. depression. are the Five Basics: 1. Smith et al. Pogrebin 1983. Families and Work Institute 1993. Osherson 1999. U.
and Espeland 1998. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. By allowing teens to express their own point of view. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Montemayor 1983. the common theme is the need for some of both.” closeness must be balanced with space for individuality. Paikoff. also provide teens with the opportunity to learn conflict resolution and negotiation skills. connection with privacy. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Paikoff. and Brillon 1995. Meyer. family time with peer time. listening. autonomy. does “love and nurture” look like as children become teens? It includes behaviors that communicate respect. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Coleman and Hendry 1990. As indicated in the chapter on “Principles and Context. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. providing opportunities for increased debate and conflict does not generally compromise their attachment. •  Steinberg 2000. warmth. and activities. then. •  Holmbeck. •  Arnett 1999. Noller 1994. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Steinberg 1994. THE FIVE BASICS All these issues may require changes in the ways in which parents express love and connection. Silverberg and Gondoli 1996. 1990. What. and for separation to occur in the context of a supportive parental relationship. in a context of ongoing communication and connectedness. •  Steinberg 2000. Furthermore. intense. while also allowing for increased privacy.” To do so often requires parents to strengthen their skills. Benson. Paikoff. and more selective sharing of personal information. so that the teen feels accepted and approved of as a person. Galinsky 1987. Winnicott 1965. Holmbeck. Baumrind 1996. support with acknowledgment of differences of opinion. Noller 1994. Arnett 1999. Holmbeck. Contrary to many parents’ expectations. Youniss. Arnett 1999. Surrey 1991. while also strengthening the relationship by becoming better informed about their teen’s thoughts and feelings. It means continuing both to work together and play together. adapting their patterns for giving physical and emotional affection to fit teens’ changing needs. and delegating responsibility. Holmbeck. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. this delicate balance must be negotiated with teens who are typically more moody. Galbraith. Larson et al. Moderate levels of conflict. and argumentative than younger children. Kegan 1994. and difference of opinion. 50 . Gorman 1998. The key is learning to exchange ideas in ways that are nonjudgmental and respectful. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Hauser 1991. Holmbeck. as indicated in the previous chapter. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. García Coll. DeSantis. Grotevant 1998. Steinberg 1990. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999a. critical. and affection. Paikoff. Collins 1992. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997.from family activities. Although there are scholarly and cultural differences about the relative emphasis on separation and connection. Grotevant 1998. conflict resolution. as discussed in the chapter on “Principles and Context. Noller 1994. Montemayor and Flannery 1991. Holmbeck. negotiation. RAISING TEENS  Arnett 1999. Paikoff. Noller 1994. and Henderson 1992. intensification of peer relationships. and making room ultimately for a healthy adult-to-adult bond. sensitivities. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Collins 1990. Paikoff. 1996. Weingarten 1998. and BrooksGunn 1995. •  Grotevant 1998. as well as the complexities of adult-to-adult relationships. Noller 1994. Collins 1990. and nurturing with accommodation of maturing bodies and minds. interests. Youniss and Smollar 1985. such as in handling criticism and anger. Collins 1990. Research identifies a special challenge for parents and teens arising from teens’ development of sexual characteristics and behavior. parents are enhancing their teen’s development of a sense of identity and individuality. adapting to change. problem solving. Collins 1990. interest.
Holmbeck. vitality. 1. perspectives. Collins 1990.  Stepp 2000. Larson and Richards 1994. one on one and as a family. Steinberg and Levine 1997. Paikoff. individual style. Galbraith. ones that are genuinely useful and important to the family’s well-being. and debate. Smith et al. special needs. but the following appear frequently in a diversity of reviews of research and practice. humor. Gobeli 1999. schoolwork. Love and Connect Strategies for Parents Watch for moments when you feel and can express genuine affection. and relationships. strengths. can offer new ways to connect. as well as the positive aspects of adolescence generally. and accomplishments. concerns.Strategies vary across culture and philosophy. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. but rather that these ideas offer starting points and overall guidelines from which to select and adapt. for your teen in the family. Research in no way suggests that “one size fits all” with parenting strategies. or your own past. environmental risks. and many other factors. Hauser 1991. interests. each teen’s new areas of interest. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. THE FIVE BASICS Acknowledge the good times Expect increased criticism Spend time just listening Treat each teen as a unique individual Appreciate and acknowledge Provide meaningful roles Spend time together Key Message for Parents: Most things about their world are changing. ideas. distinct from siblings. respect. such as its passion. Benson. his or her past. 51 RAISING TEENS . to your teen’s thoughts and feelings about her or his fears. made possible by your teen’s personality and growth. Diamond and Hopson 1998. and deepening intellectual thought. and appreciation for your teen. stereotypes. while also taking advantage of ways in which new activities. Eberly and Montemayor 1999. taking into account values. 1994. Don’t let your love be one of them. jobs. and strengthen your skills for discussing ideas and disagreements in ways that respect both your teen’s opinions and your own. activities. skills. continuing some familiar family routines. such as community volunteering. and Espeland 1998. ethnic traditions.
and legal systems. One of the new challenges for parents of teens is that more of the monitoring must be done indirectly. educational. work experiences. Miller 1998. Hamburg. after-school activities. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. The seemingly simple act of monitoring teens’ activities—having teens report on their whereabouts and knowing where teens are—is found in studies to be linked to a lower risk of drug and alcohol use. Supervision of grades is associated with better grades. •  Garbarino 1999. U. recreation. Holden 1997. Chamberlain and Patterson 1995. Small and Eastman 1991. RAISING TEENS  Garbarino 1999. but its impact does not. Parental involvement in school activities tends to decrease dramatically in adolescence. including health care. and by checking in with other adults. attending parent-teacher conferences and school functions. and to encourage the involvement THE FIVE BASICS and interest of other adults. Brody and Flor 1998. Paikoff. and friendships. adult relationships. Gray and Steinberg 1999b.2. U. 52 .S. Monitoring in a few specific areas has been given particular attention: • School progress and environment. Paikoff. Monitor and Observe Teens need parents to be aware of—and let teens know they are aware of—their activities. Brody and Flor 1998. employment. such as teachers and coaches. pregnancy. Dryfoos 1998. Monitoring also appears to communicate that parents care and are listening. and Williams 1998. Paikoff. parents need to work within gradually increasing provisions for teens’ confidentiality and autonomy within social institutions. early sexual activity. such as monitoring communications from school. Also. including school performance. Jarrett 1999. Holmbeck. Entwisle 1990. a central theme is balance. observation. Eccles and Harold 1996. Holden 1997. Steinberg 1991b. Zill and Nord 1994. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. and school involvement with both higher grades and fewer problems. depression. Holmbeck. Chamberlain and Patterson 1995. School involvement can take place at a number of different levels.S. Holmbeck. monitoring of school behavior with fewer school behavior problems. Again. delinquency. peer relationships. Zill and Nord 1994. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. there is so much more to monitor than in earlier years. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. •  Eccles and Harold 1996. •  Eccles and Harold 1996. and participating in school governance. and negative peer influence. through a process that increasingly involves less direct supervision and more communication. Elliott. and networking with other adults. victimization. Carnegie Council 1995. to help teens develop social competence. Miller 1998. as teens enter an ever-widening world of education. activities. Furthermore. 1997. between the need for supervision and the need for privacy. by listening to teen disclosures. to influence peer selection. and recreation. school problems. Patterson and Forgatch 1987. by observing changes in teen behavior. Zill and Nord 1994. Department of Health and Human Services 1997.
Paikoff. and gains and losses in romantic relationships. Issues that can arise include shame or self-hatred around early onset of puberty. as well as reduced susceptibility to negative peer pressure. in turn. and Dube 1999.• Physical and mental health. pregnancy. Part-time work for youngsters who are still in school can have negative effects if it involves long hours or high levels of disposable income. and struggling to find a sexual identity. mental illness. Nightingale and Wolverton 1993. •  Poussaint and Alexander 2000. Knowing a teen’s whereabouts and behavior during out-of-school hours is associated with lower rates of drug and alcohol use. and depression. and Petersen 1996. Csikszentmihalyi and Schneider 2000. Larson. •  Kipke 1999a. Compas and Hammen 1996. especially in girls. Brooks-Gunn. Rickel and Hendren 1993. U. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Families and Work Institute 2000. such as depression or an eating disorder.S. Maccoby 1998. Chamberlain and Patterson 1995. Although most teens navigate the physical and emotional watershed of adolescence without serious difficulty. and other problems grow to be as high as those for adults. and Wood 1999. •  Council of Economic Advisors 2000. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Getting to know teenagers’ friends is an important part of the strategy. Johnson. Clore. Compas and Hammen 1996. Achterberg and Shannon 1993. Savin-Williams and Rodriguez 1993. unsupervised activity. Youniss and Yates 1997. as their rates of suicide. It has been spent in unstructured. Tolman 1999. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS estimated that as much as 40 percent of young adolescents’ time is  Diamond. Miller 1998. and peer activities. •  Peterson et al. However. friendships. as is monitoring teen employment. Hamilton 1999b. managing sexual feelings. •  Garbarino 1999. •  Duffett. U. teens are at significant risk in several ways. About ten to 20 percent of teens develop a serious emotional disorder. Savin-Williams. and delinquency. Steinberg 1991b. Carnegie Council 1995. 53 . Paikoff. Department of Health and Human Services 1998. is one of the predictors of suicide. but it can also have very positive effects. In contrast to children and adults. •  Kipke 1999a. Jamison 1999. Holmbeck.S. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. homosexuality. if parents respond to signs of depression and seek help. and Farkas 1999. Holmbeck. the most common causes of mortality in teens arise from hazards in the environment. 1997.S. Carnegie Council 1995. Graber. treatment can reduce depressive symptoms and increase teens’ capacity to cope successfully. especially in boys. Families and Work Institute 2000. which has increased far faster among teens than in the general population. • After-school whereabouts. U. Rates of depression quadruple. •  Council of Economic Advisors 2000. One special source of problems for adolescents centers on adjusting to sexual maturation. About four out of five youngsters hold a job at some point during high school. including automobile accidents and homicides. Grotevant 1998. and half of older teens are employed at any given time. such as giving teens an important or essential role in the family and building occupational and life skills. and as many as threequarters of teens report no organized after-school activities. Newman 1999. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. late onset of puberty.
and other media. obesity. •  Roberts 2000. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS  Children’s Defense Fund 2000. The use of media consumes more time than school. magazines. Damon 1997. •  Children’s Defense Fund 2000. Singer et al. •  Brown and Cantor 2000. encouraging critical thinking and media literacy skills. 1999. (b) discussing with teens the messages being conveyed in entertainment and news media. alcohol and drug use. Gentile and Walsh 1999. Henriksen. •  Brown and Cantor 2000. Cantor 2000. 1999. Roberts. the amount and content of teens’ use of electronic media. Gentile and Walsh 1999. Strasburger 1995. and consumer culture. taking an interest in. and learning about teens’ choices in music. and displacement of other activities. violent behavior. Roberts 1993. school achievement. and Roberts 2000. CDs and tapes. most usage occurs out of the presence of parents. that it is appropriate for parents at least to observe and discuss. Children’s Defense Fund 2000. 1999. and Biely 1999. 1999. Virtually all American adolescents are immersed in media-related activities—television. (d) keeping computers and television sets in central locations rather than private spaces. 54 . Rollin. Heintz-Knowles 1998. There tends to be agreement. if not plan and limit. Kunkel. unhealthy body types. Suggestions to parents from researchers and advocates regarding addressing these concerns have included: (a) listening to. Roberts 2000. One area of particular attention is the impact of messages about the attractiveness of suicide. movies. Another is the impact of heavy television use on attention and thinking skills. Roberts et al. video games. Christenson and Roberts 1998. therefore. (c) establishing family policies about media use.• Media and other popular culture. Garbarino 1999. newspapers—an average of close to seven hours a day. Although there is debate about the effects of the mass media on adolescents. buying habits. Christenson. videos. •  Roberts 2000. Gentile and Walsh 1999. Roberts et al. understanding of the differences between real and entertainment worlds. stereotypical gender and racial roles. Carnegie Council 1995. books. and the percentages are higher among those at lower socioeconomic levels. Roberts et al. radio. violence. the Internet. early sexual behavior. entertainment. the research raises concerns that certain media may influence the attitudes and behavior of susceptible teens. Henriksen. over half have a television in their bedrooms. Damon 1997. Roberts 1993. Most teens have an audio system in their bedrooms. and Christenson 1999. Roberts 2000. and (e) mobilizing formal media education and advocacy through schools or outside organizations. buying habits.
and others. You still can. promiscuity. problems with eating or sleeping. of proposed teen activities. family and tribal elders. and it still counts. caregivers. religious leaders. consulting with teachers. the following strategies emerge from the research. peers. physicians. and emotional abuse. by listening. counselors. shopkeepers. sexual. as well as the level and nature of outside activities. directly or indirectly. media exposure. including lack of motivation. back-to-school nights. including relationships involving parental figures. 55 RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS Stay informed about your teen’s progress . religious and community leaders. counselors. matching the challenges to your teen’s ability to handle them. teachers. such as neighbors. and networking with others who come into contact with your teen. employers. in school and employment. as well as signs of abuse or neglect. weight loss. such as social events. and jobs. a drop in school performance and/or skipping school. partners. siblings.All told. get to know your teen’s friends and acquaintances. and special needs planning meetings. drug use. withdrawal from friends and activities. 2. and other parents. teachers. observing. Seek guidance if you have concerns about these warning signs or any other aspect of your teen’s health or behavior. running away. such as parent-teacher conferences. who are willing and able to let you know of positive or negative trends in your teen’s behavior. or high levels of anxiety or guilt. Monitor and Observe Strategies for Parents Keep track of your teen’s whereabouts and activities. family. serious and persistent conflict between parent and teen. parenting educators. unexplained injury. and activity leaders. Evaluate the level of challenge Key Message for Parents: Monitor your teen’s activities. Keep in touch with other adults Involve yourself in school events Learn and watch for warning signs of poor physical or mental health. Monitor your teen’s experiences in settings and relationships inside and outside the home that hold the potential for physical. with respect to monitoring teens’ behavior and well-being. extended family.
limits need to allow teens to develop and maintain their own opinions and beliefs. 1994. Teens need the experience of negotiating rules and resolving conflicts with parents in ways that are respectful to both parent and teen. correlating positively with academic performance. Limit setting remains an essential dimension in parenting adolescents. as well as reduction in negative outcomes. In particular. Chamberlain and Patterson 1995. as evidenced by association with positive outcomes. Smetana and Asquith 1994. Paikoff. Steinberg and Darling 1994. Noller 1994. Holden 1997.3. and to hold expectations around school. Guide and Limit Teens need parents to uphold a clear but evolving set of boundaries. Smith et al. Coleman and Hendry 1990. U. and healthy peer choices.S. Although some rules need to be firm. they see parents as retaining authority to set moral and social rules. Smetana 1994. two principles emerge as influencing the effectiveness of limit setting. neither is nearly as effective without the other. At the same time. Brody and Flor 1998. dependability. and Sellers 1999. Holmbeck. • Combine firmness and flexibility. 56 . Baumrind 1996.S. and to experience their parents as hearing and responding to these ideas in making decisions about rules. for adolescents. although they disagree with parents about the limits of their authority. With respect to this balance. parents need to engage in limit setting in ways that THE FIVE BASICS acknowledge and encourage their teens’ own decision making and problem solving. including school competence. but also encouraging increased competence and maturity. Smith et al. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. maintaining important family rules and values. 1994. Holden 1997. including depression and delinquent behavior. and other areas of performance. others need to be flexible. Youniss and Smollar 1985. teens acknowledge that they continue to look to parents to provide a supervisory role as evidence of their caring as well as their authority. social responsibility. to monitor their behavior. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. In fact. and prevention of problem behaviors. Carnegie Council 1995. Holmbeck. When asked in research studies. Baumrind 1996. moral development. U. rather than for punishment and power. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Coleman and Hendry 1990. self reliance. The relative emphasis on firmness and flexibility varies within families. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. and decision-making capacity. •  Fletcher. Steinberg. impulse control. depending in part on the safety of the neighborhood and community in which the teen lives: higherrisk neighborhoods call for more emphasis on the qualities of safety  Brody and Flor 1998. “Love and limits” need to go together. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. They are: RAISING TEENS • Combine rules and expectations with respect and responsiveness. Also. The reasoning behind rules needs to be explained. Paikoff. Coleman and Hendry 1990. allowing for the teen’s increasing competence. social competence. chores. allowing for the safety and security of the teen and family. emphasis needs to be placed on limit setting for protection and guidance. Noller 1994.
depression. However. and (d) its inconsistency with the tenets of certain religions. •  McLoyd 1998. time. About physical punishment. and redefine their parental relationships. Youniss and Smollar 1985. Larzelere 1996. •  Arnett 1999. Straus 1994. both mothers and fathers. Holden and Miller 1999. an average of several times a year. Hitting teens as a form of punishment is far from unusual in American households. Paikoff. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Baumrind 1996. McLoyd 1998. Similarly. Dobson 1992. 57 . Noller 1994. and Brillon 1995. Steinberg 1990. including rebellion. As children become teens. On the one hand. García Coll. while lower-risk neighborhoods allow for more emphasis on the opportunities for learning cooperative decision making and self-expression offered by flexibility. Holmbeck.and respect for authority offered by firmness. more typically communicating caring. vigilance. a body of research negative effects. Holmbeck. Milburn and Conrad 1996. Paikoff. and Brillon 1995. Straus and Yodanis 1996. •  Phelan 1998. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS takes information. The disadvantages of both rigid and permissive approaches become more apparent. Consensus on the effects of physical punishment has not been achieved. Baumrind 1996. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. including whether the punishment is associated with low or high maternal warmth. and neighborhood violence. families’ cultural traditions play a role. (c) its lack of sensitivity to some ethnic traditions in which mild physical punishment has a different meaning. with more emphasis on firmness in ethnic groups that place greater value on family cohesion and respect for parental authority. physically aggressive behavior. and acknowledgment of the special risks for children of color who are coping disproportionately with racism. Chao 1994. •  Straus 1994. Lack of success with these “traditional” strategies can tempt parents to give up. 1999. report hitting their teenage daughters and sons. Nearly half of parents. (b) its failure to take into account differences in the severity and context of the physical punishment. including some Christian traditions. Paikoff. poverty. •  Brody and Flor 1998. an added challenge around limit setting for many parents is that decisions about limits often take place many times a day and must be made in the context of teens’ new levels of risk taking and rule testing. Steinberg 1990. forge more mature peer and sexual relationships. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. in particular because learning better alternatives already overstressed and overworked American parents. including: (a) its correlative nature— physical punishment is associated with negative outcomes but is not shown to cause them. and later spousal assaults. Teens vigorously question rules and limits as they struggle to achieve a sense of identity. and energy. Meyer. respect for authority. Holmbeck. all of which are in short supply for has accumulated that connects physical punishment with a number of  Furstenberg et al. Patterson and Forgatch 1987. and on flexibility in ethnic groups that place greater value on individuality and autonomy. García Coll. this research has been questioned on several grounds. and have higher stakes as teens acquire adult skills and rights. apply abstract reasoning. Meyer.
Paikoff. 58 . but identify the common themes that emerge within it and across a wide range of research literature.However. to forms that do not cause physical or emotional injury. Schneider and Stevenson 1999. Miller 1998. and ignore smaller issues in favor of more important ones. Jarrett 1999. that are high. then. Brody and Flor 1998. 1997. Collins 1990. Zill and Nord 1994. while negotiating other rules around issues like household tasks and schedules. Holden 1997. Holmbeck. 3. agree that there are better alternatives. but don’t let go. in response to your teen’s changing abilities. for teaching. The following strategies.S. representing a broad range of racial and religious traditions. Communicate expectations THE FIVE BASICS Choose battles Use discipline as a tool Restrict punishment RAISING TEENS Renegotiate responsibilities and privileges Key Message for Parents: Loosen up. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Guide and Limit Strategies for Parents Maintain family rules or “house rules. Larzelere 1996. school performance. turning over some areas to the teen with appropriate monitoring. Gray and Steinberg 1999b. physical punishment should never be delivered with intent to do physical or emotional harm. and sexually responsible behavior. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. but realistic. U. not for venting or taking revenge. Baumrind 1996. the predominance of researchers and practitioners. such as drugs.  Brody and Flor 1998. if used at all.” upholding some non-negotiable rules around issues like safety and central family values. take into account this controversy over physical punishment. Chamberlain and Patterson 1995. Noller 1994. •  Eberly and Montemayor 1999. and all agree that. Dobson 1992. McLoyd 1997.
skills. Resnick et al. but more surprising is the extent to which parents’ values and ideas remain influential. U. Steinberg and Levine 1997. 1997. Frydenberg 1997. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. If they have strong bonds with their parents. individuality. they depend on the adults boards. and Brodzinsky 1998. Ward 1996. McGoldrick. Louis Harris 1995. McAdoo 1999b. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. philosophical “why’s.” and teens’ plans for the future. •  Grotevant et al. Hayden as cited in Steinberg 1990. 1997. Jarrett 1999. many researchers have concluded that parents are a key influence in teens’ decision making around fundamental areas such as values. Parents exercise their influence both by what they do and by what example. 1994. teens even tend to choose friends with values that are consistent with those of their parents. and future directions. As teens forge aspects of their sense of identity. Holden 1997. parents’ modeling. Brodzinsky. and interpreting and navigating the larger world. Parents who have a stronger connection to their teen tend to have more influence with regard to teen decisions. and Pearce 1996. coping. Although the process of setting and negotiating limits is a powerful tool for helping teens learn values and decision making. Smith. 1990. positive racial and ethnic identity. Garbarino and Kostelny 1995. •  Collins et al. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Resnick et al. 2000. Teens report that they admire their parents and turn. Harrison et al. and conflict resolution. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Riera 1995. employment. Noller 1994. In fact. With respect to what parents say. •  Schneider and Stevenson 1999. Coleman and Hendry 1990. There is no question that a growing circle of adults and peers influences teens’ thinking and decisions during adolescence. With respect to what they do. Steinberg 2000. Youniss and Smollar 1985. p. relationships. communication. Paikoff. controversial social issues. Paikoff. in areas including family problems. Gray and Steinberg 1999b. including adoptive identity. Giordano. Holmbeck. interpreters. Department of Health and Human Services 1997. Wallace and Williams 1997. and sounding they say. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Holmbeck. Researchers also observe that teens tend to have values and beliefs on major issues like morality and politics that are similar to their parents. 1997. another crucial set of strategies takes this important parenting role even further by making parents available as sources of information and counsel as teens navigate the widening world beyond home and family. Tatum 1997. or wish they could turn. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. teaching by example and ongoing dialogue. to them for advice and counsel.S. Noller 1994. Brooks 1994. 2000. Holmbeck. 2000. as  Collins et al. Carnegie Council 1995. when such peer choices are available. Coleman and Hendry 1990. Smith et al. •  Bostrom 2000b. goals. and positive gender identity. research affirms that teens are listening and talking in more ways than it may appear. Model and Consult Teens need parents to provide ongoing information and support around decision making. goals. Coleman and Hendry 1990. A strong parental role has also been indicated around the formation of aspects of identity. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. values. health habits. has been found to be linked to better skills and attitudes around academic achievement. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS they know best to serve as steady influences. or setting a good 59 . 14. Paikoff.4.
Paikoff. negotiating differences. supports the following areas: • engaging in discussions around moral and social issues. Holmbeck. McLoyd 1997. and Brooks-Gunn 1995. Graber. gender. Brody and Flor 1998. The research. All in all. Shulman and Seiffge-Krenke 1997. Surrey. immigrant status. Carnegie Council 1995. Eccles et al. •  Moore. Phinney and Kohatsu 1997. Taylor 1997. •  Read 2000. and traditions. Central to all these strategies are communication skills.  McAdoo 1999b. Kegan 1994. and BrooksGunn 1995. family structure. Brooks-Gunn. Schneider and Stevenson 1999. • • providing opportunities for debate and decision making. in particular. Hauser 1991. García Coll. Taylor and Wang 1997. and offering strategies for succeeding in school and workplace settings. and supporting formal education and life-skills training. 1999. Holmbeck. Steinberg 1991b. and Meade 1996. and problem solving. •  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. Kegan 1994. 60 . while allowing teens to develop and express positions of THE FIVE BASICS their own. Paikoff. modeling. taking clear positions. Diamond and Hopson 1998. Coles 1997. Savin-Williams and Rodriguez 1993. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. Holmbeck. Carnegie Council 1995. • • modeling good lifestyle habits. strategies for modeling behavior and supporting teen decision making break down into several categories. Clarke 1997. •  Steinberg 2000. Carnegie Council 1995. ethnicity. including listening. Paikoff. Carnegie Council 1995. (See “Love and Connect” and “Guide and Limit” sections. Giordano. McCubbin et al. Bosma and Jackson 1990. and negotiation. Hauser and Bowlds 1990. • • affirming and maintaining family activities. Jarrett 1999. emotional and physical illness. offering information on areas of risky behavior. Tatum 1997. Holden 1997. Noller 1994. Savin-Williams and Rodriguez 1993. such as problem solving.b. Noller 1994. •  Doherty 1997. 1998a. offering consultation and advice. such as drug and alcohol use. •  Diamond and Hopson 1998. Gibbs 1998a. class. •  Diamond and Hopson 1998. • teaching coping skills. Mahdi.) In order to strengthen their decision-making skills. Youniss and Smollar 1985. and Pearce 1996. sexual orientation. and Weingarten 1998. Rosenthal. discussing and offering frameworks for understanding and challenging negative experiences based on race. Schneider and Stevenson 1999. Carnegie Council 1995. rituals. Christopher. McAdoo 1999b. Coleman and Hendry 1990. and Brooks-Gunn 1995.do parents who choose ways of conveying their ideas that are respectful of their teen’s growing maturity of thought and action. and disability. McGoldrick. and Mitchell 1996. Holden 1997. Hodapp 1995. Strasburger 1995. Dryfoos 1998. •  Harter 1999. teens need environments that present neither too little nor too great a level of challenge— neither an overprotective environment that presents too few opportunities for learning from mistakes and coming up against problems nor an overwhelming environment that presents too few opportunities for trying out new coping strategies and experiencing successes. and Petersen 1996. Ward 1996. Zill and Nord 1994. 1993. managing multiple demands. RAISING TEENS  Gray and Steinberg 1999b. Kagan 1986. discussing future options. Jarrett 1999.
about social. employment. health habits. teens still care. and lifestyle choices. and emotional control. while providing safe opportunities to try out their own ideas and learn from their mistakes. that you would like your teen to have. political. and employment that develop their skills. about future options and strategies for education. including issues of ethnicity and gender. cultural. Help teens get information Key Message for Parents: The teen years: Parents still matter.These research findings translate into the following strategies for parents. and/or religious rituals. while taking into account their level of maturity. 4. Model and Consult Strategies for Parents Set a good example Express personal positions around risk taking. interests. including through participation in household tasks. to practice reasoning and decision making by asking questions that encourage them to think logically and consider consequences. outside activities. Model the kind of adult relationships Answer teens’ questions Maintain or establish traditions Support teens’ education in ways that are truthful. and spiritual issues. THE FIVE BASICS and vocational training. and sense of value to the family and community. including family. 61 RAISING TEENS Give teens opportunities . moral.
LeVine 1997 on sponsorship. Smith et al. Even in communities with significant resources. The challenges are increased by a tendency at adolescence for specialized services to be less common and for some problems. •  Furstenberg et al. greater departmentalization. Damon 1997. McLoyd 1998. •  Eccles et al. Eccles and Harold 1996. particularly in adolescence. are not a good match for the developmental tasks of early adolescence. •  See Furstenberg et al. Bornstein 1998. Laub and Lauritsen 1998. Myers-Walls 1999. Widely shared across cultures. 1993. Maggs. 1993. to become more common. violence. Furstenberg et al. Clarke 1997. training. unemployment and underemployment.” “advocacy. and substance abuse. Carnegie Council 1995. Schulenberg. chronic illness. RAISING TEENS  LeMenestral 2000.” “sponsorship. and support. limited formal education. lack of resources for special needs or special talents. neighborhood poverty and violence. lack of familiarity with American systems and customs.” that is. Scales and Leffert 1999. Csikszentmihalyi et al.” is observed in parenting across ethnic and socioeconomic groups. 1997. have a responsibility either to provide or to advocate for these basic needs at least through adolescence. including fathers. 62 . Galambos and Ehrenberg 1997. Smith et al. such as mental illness and substance abuse. and health care. Sometimes included in this arena of parenting is the concept of taking steps to influence the community environment. Small and Eastman 1991. parental incarceration. some researchers observe that typical middle schools. Eccles. shelter. as the child prepares for and enters a widening world and spends more and more time in unstructured and unsupervised settings. This parental function. and Hurrelmann 1997. Garbarino 1999. •  Damon 1999.5. and health care. 1999.” or “community bridging. but also a supportive home environment and a network of caring adults. racism. including disability. guidance. domestic violence. lack of child support. •  Bell and Quick 1999. 1999 on family management. lack of community resources. clothing. lack of positive adult role models and mentors. unhealthy school climate and practices. Gray and Steinberg 1999b. Lord. homelessness. lack of after-school options. 1994. Holden 1997. Jarrett 1999 on community bridging. and parents’ physical THE FIVE BASICS and mental illness. shelter. such as choosing schools and youth programs in order to resist and combat the otherwise potentially negative effects of limited peer options. and Laub and Lauritsen 1998 on social capital. and Roeser 1996. clothing. and that parents. Less widely recognized is the concept that teens also need parents to help provide “social capital. The challenge for parents is to accomplish this task in the face of barriers such as family poverty. racism. and decreased student-teacher contact. Laub and Lauritsen 1998. is the concept that children have rights to adequate food. McLoyd 1998. Steinberg and Darling 1994. 1999. or lack of community cohesion. 1994. Provide and Advocate Teens need parents to make available not only adequate nutrition. of course. overwork. to seek out relationships within the community that supplement what the immediate family can or even should provide in the way of resources. and Small and Eastman 1991 on advocacy. with their larger size. sometimes called “family management.
such as the formation of parent networks and political lobbying for improved services. Such strategies can mediate. recreation. •  Rhodes in press.) Parents of special needs children often have taken a leadership role in learning and exercising advocacy skills in educational settings. guidance counselors. These strategies also help to combat the terize American culture more broadly. and training. community activism. More typically stressed is the need. including. 1998. after-school activities. 1999. attending school functions. workplaces. neighborhoods. mismatched. mental health care. assisting their child in understanding and adjusting to transitions to middle school and high school. Greenspan 1998. ers. Carnegie Council 1995. A subset of these strategies addresses the need for parents to advocate for their teens by involving themselves in their teens’ schools. and employment. Camino. Damon 1997. RAISING TEENS THE FIVE BASICS reduction in opportunities for lasting adult-teen relationships that charac- where culturally appropriate and logistically possible. financial assistance. and other staff. and Wheeler 2000. Hamilton 1990. Newman 1999. Also noted is the need to seek out people and programs for youngsters to supplement school and home in areas such as learning community responsibility and building vocational skills. 63 . participating in the classroom. Youth Development 2000. development of talent. and discriminatory distribution of resources in schools. given the more limited contact between teens and teachers in school. A key part of this concept involves collaborating with teens themselves. and volunteer work. health care. Damon 1997. •  Read 2000. formal and informal mentors. and other settings. Jarrett 1999. meeting with teach-  Larson 2000. Jarrett 1999. in addressing the problems that they face. within existing neighborhoods and schools. Galambos and Ehrenberg 1997. (See “Monitor and Observe” section. especially when needed to combat inadequate. •  Zeldin. and advocating for better or more appropriate services. guidance. Mentoring has also received significant attention lately as a means of providing additional adult support. Youniss and Yates 1997.Also included in this thinking is the concept of creating opportunities for teens to develop meaningful competencies through jobs. the high turnover of caregivers in managed health care. working together as allies. monitoring the quality and quantity of teaching and special services. that can be applied more generally to parent advocacy. special needs. to seek out people and programs that can effectively assist a teen in areas such as education. although not eliminate. MyersWalls 1999. Benson et al. legal counsel. and the geographical distance separating many extended families. •  Furstenberg et al. Côté and Allahar 1996. They have developed techniques. the negative impact of family poverty and neighborhood deterioration.
community involvement. Small 1990. 5. among available options for schools and educational programs. guidance. in handling parental responsibilities and in understanding the societal and personal challenges in raising teens. among available options for neighborhoods.  Damon 1999. but you can add to and subtract from it. 64 . religious organizations. family. Make informed decisions THE FIVE BASICS Make similarly informed decisions Arrange or advocate for preventive health care Identify people and programs to support and inform you RAISING TEENS Key Message for Parents: You can’t control their world. Provide and Advocate Strategies for Parents Network within the community as well as within schools. Smith et al. 1999. taking into account such issues as safety. including care for mental illness. and youth programs. approach to diversity. McLoyd 1998. Carnegie Council 1995. social climate. and activities for your teen. training. 1994.Specific strategies for which there is broad research support include the following. and social services to identify resources that can provide positive adult and peer relationships. Steinberg and Darling 1994. opportunities for peer relationships and mentoring. community cohesion. and treatment. Furstenberg et al. and the match between school practices and your teen’s learning style and needs.
running away. Feindler and Becker 1994. McFarlane. One in four high-school girls and boys. 1997.to 14-year-olds report experiencing at least one act of violence by a parent in the past year. poor school performance. 1997. hopelessness. •  Sedlak and Broadhurst 1996. Garbarino and Gilliam 1980. Youngsters with disabiliTHE FIVE BASICS Far from being out of of physical and sexual abuse that are as high as or higher than those of young children. however. and Weisaeth 1996. 1997. RAISING TEENS danger. •  Snyder and Sickmund 1999. eating disorders. Benson 1993. •  Schoen et al. Although abuse is less likely to result in fatalities as children get older. 1997. birth parents and other parents account for the vast majority of teen abuse and neglect. •  Diamond. across racial groups. regardless of race. Their physical and sexual maturity belie their emotional and social immaturity. is that abuse of teenagers is commonplace in America. substance abuse. Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. and of serious and fatal injuries stemming from abuse. For girls. physical abuse happens predominantly at home and by a family member. Straus 1994. •  Daro forthcoming. relate. aggression and violence. Trickett and Weinstein 1991. that teens are still powerfully affected by abuse from parents. More than half of ten. What is surprising. then. it causes external and internal injuries that are profoundly disabling. Council on Scientific Affairs 1993. 1998. has wanted to leave home because of violence or threats of violence. sexual dysfunction. Schoen et al. Their growing competence disguises a continued financial and psychological dependence. Overall. Sexual abuse is linked to higher rates of mental disorders. 65 . Physical abuse of adolescents is linked. and early pregnancy. and their capacity to think. adjustment problems. much of it at the hands of parents. for example. Schoen et al. substance abuse. 1998. between ten and 25 percent of girls. mental disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. and lack of empathy for others. but sexual abuse occurs predominantly outside of the home. Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. Feindler and Becker 1994. Savin-Williams. and four to ten percent of boys are estimated to have been sexually abused. as well as from other adults and peers. physical and sexual abuse happens predominantly at home and by a family member. Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. it is that teenagers are vulnerable. They are still growing—their bodies. to running away. Van der Kolk. and Dube 1999. 1998. Benson 1993. delinquency. Their boldness and bravado mask an inexperience in solving problems and coping with stress that is often no match for the unsupervised. Rickel and Hendren 1993. teens. for boys. and work. 1998. •  Daro forthcoming. Far from being out of danger. their brains. teens have rates  Daro forthcoming. have rates of physical and sexual abuse that are as high as or higher than those of young children. By the end of high school. It should not be surprising. •  Schoen et al. risk-laden environment in which they live.First Do No Harm A Note on the Abuse and Neglect of Adolescents If there is any one bottom-line message that emerges from the analysis of research on adolescent and parenting tasks. early voluntary sexual activity. feel. including depression and eating disorders. suicide.
incarcerated. including (a) the presence of fewer mandated reporters in teens’ lives. Trickett and Weinstein 1991. Taylor and Wang 1997. •  Daro forthcoming. and other forces. clothing. structure. parents. Department of Health and Human Services 1999. Yet. boys for physical abuse. teens need connection.S. •  McAdoo 1999a. Garbarino 1996. and resources. such that neither teens nor adults identify their maltreatment as abuse or neglect. Sedlak and Broadhurst 1996. •  Snyder and Sickmund 1999. as abuse is suspected to be underreported for a variety of reasons. rather than mothers. Complicating the picture is the fact that sometimes the abused teen is also an abuser. Snyder and Sickmund 1999. (f ) the fact that some reporting systems do not include adolescents. and their resistance to earlier abuse and punishment. Garbarino and Garbarino 1993. triggered by a tinderbox of new issues. Homeless. including those that meet basic needs for nutrition. Trickett and Weinstein 1991. and other symptoms that mask underlying maltreatment. Gentry. Council on Scientific Affairs 1993. adolescent abuse and neglect attract little media attention or social services  Eron. some begins at adolescence. and (g) the absence of public concern. including THE FIVE BASICS parents’ midlife concerns and teens’ challenges to limit setting. •  Finkelhor 1995. 66 . •  Daro forthcoming. Poussaint and Alexander 2000. isolation. Critical changes also occur in the patterns of abuse in adolescence. violence toward parents or other family members. Although some physical and sexual abuse stops at adolescence. (d) the presence of drug abuse. (e) the ability of teens to run away. Garbarino et al. their sexuality. Kindlon and Thompson 1999. Feindler and Becker 1994. younger children. Some of the responsibility for this health care crisis rests on the larger society. •  Bradley 1997. For the first time. Gender differences also show up in the ways teens are seen to respond to physical abuse— RAISING TEENS boys tend to turn the anger outward in the form of aggression and delinquency. and opportunities for health and educational services. supervision. Garbarino and Gilliam 1980. suicidality. girls tend to turn it inward in the form of self-destructive behavior and depression. (c) the lack of clear definitions. and fathers are increasingly likely to be the abuser. Council on Scientific Affairs 1993. And what about neglect? To reach adulthood successfully. 1986. peers. housing.ties and those who are homosexual or bisexual are among the groups at particularly high risk. Noller 1994. Girls are at higher risk for sexual abuse.b. and Schlegel 1994. •  Daro forthcoming. Feindler and Becker 1994. these basic needs are not being met in thousands of homes in the United States. Rates of emotional neglect are higher in adolescence than in younger years. which confronts some parents with staggering challenges from poverty. •  U. Some rests with the media and with the social services system. and runaway youth typically report high rates of prior abuse. (b) a shortage of caring adults in whom to confide. guidance. Lourie 1979. Caught in a tangle of false assumptions. Poverty is less likely to be a factor among families that abuse teens than among those that abuse younger children. Council on Scientific Affairs 1993. acting out on siblings. and others. and rates of physical neglect are similar. Wiehe 1991. girls are more likely than boys to be abused. These figures may even be low. •  Sedlak and Broadhurst 1996.
67 .response. youth workers. During high school. Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. 1997. Elliott. rates of victimization are much higher for African American than European American youths. close to half of all high-school boys and a third of girls told no one about their physical or sexual abuse. About a third of all victims of violence. Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. •  Daro forthcoming. 1998. the survival of our families. •  Schoen et al. In short. even when the injuries are equally severe. Among the arguments given for doing so are that it is too late. are teens. and murder. THE FIVE BASICS of teens is underrated. while rates of abuse are similar across racial and ethnic groups. abuse and neglect of teens is underrated. and hence deflecting and derailing the very help they need.  and nearly one in ten girls will report date-forced sex. including robbery. may well present themselves as uncooperative and unattractive. with damaging effects of its own. RAISING TEENS The abuse and neglect underrecognized. teachers. and even health care providers. Even more youngsters will witness violence at home. and discrimination that constitutes emotional abuse and neglect. the very quality of our social fabric. •  Hutchinson and Langlykke 1997. underrecognized. they are more likely to be “screened out” than are those of younger children. assault. and underreported. Hamburg. •  Garbarino and Garbarino 1993. The consequences are profound for teens and society. they are often ignored by parents. or that there really aren’t any services available to help anyway. teens are also victims of violence at disproportionately high rates. In one study. teasing. and underreported. the teens themselves. •  Snyder and Sickmund 1999. that she or he “asked for it. and Williams 1998. •  Schoen et al.  Daro forthcoming. as is a level of bullying. In a kind of collective societal abuse and neglect. nearly one in ten youngsters will experience physical violence from a romantic partner. in school. harassment. that teens can “get away” or take care of themselves. and in the community. reflecting and perpetuating the social and emotional handicaps that come with abuse. rape. threatening the strength of our workforce. and as perpetrators as well as victims. even in preteens as young as ten.  Compounding the problems. •  Daro forthcoming. partly as a result of their abuse. and.” that the injuries are not so serious. •  Snyder and Sickmund 1999. 1997. When teens show signs of abuse. This violence is even happening on school property. When cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
for strengthening families and improving outcomes for America’s children and teens.Recommendations One of the most important kinds of wealth that we must share as a nation is our wealth of knowledge. it is one powerful strategy. In the last few decades. RAISING TEENS for Future Work 69 . a significant body of knowledge has accumulated about the parenting of adolescents. in combination with other strategies. Although consolidating and disseminating that knowledge is no panacea.
The task of getting messages of this kind to the people who need them is a complex one. expertise. making it available. collaboration. They offer compelling windows of opportunity. As a first step. DeJong and Winsten 1998. Even some of the most basic principles that are reaching parents and policy makers regarding young children—about brain development. but many precedents demonstrate that it can be done with proper planning. Galinsky 1999. about abuse. Duffett. 70 . Dombro et al. and conveying it back and forth. Youniss. Well-designed campaigns have been successful in influencing public attitudes and behaviors on a number of public health issues. Maibach and Parrott 1995. evaluation. What can be done? We must build much more effective bridges among all those who are addressing the raising of teenagers. •  Dungan-Seaver 1999. Johnson. so that each group benefits from the others’ R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K feedback. 1993. for example. In this case. We must create more effective means of consolidating information. and how they would prefer to learn it. Hewlett and West 1998. policy makers. and we must support the senders.Recommendations for Future Work Parents of adolescents are largely not aware that well-established research findings exist. Conduct media initiatives to disseminate widely the bottom-line messages on parenting adolescents about which there is wideRAISING TEENS spread research agreement. and Henderson 1992. Backer 1995. Freedman-Doan et al. practitioners. Together. because they build on what has already been done. parents. Communications Consortium 1996. This Project has uncovered a number of studies of parents’ attitudes and behaviors toward teens and family life. The task of getting messages of this kind to the people who need them is a complex one. tap the momentum that is gathering. Given the powerful knowledge that has been gained from this Project. resources. as summarized in this Project’s previous report. DeSantis. about the role of parents—are in general not reaching parents of adolescents. an essential component of the planning process will be research on the diverse and complex target audience of parents and others raising teenagers: what they know. and policy makers. and even the practitioners working with adolescents and families. let alone what they might be.  Simpson 1997.d. Wallack et al. and promise major benefits. and time. a critical next step is to engage in sustained. 1996. Rogers. •  See. including parenting issues such as child abuse and infant health. How can we do it? The following recommendations emerge from the findings of this report as the most effective next steps. we can make this work. and the seekers within each group. fill obvious gaps in the current array of initiatives. and Farkas 1999. the synthesizers. 1993. and Sopory 1992. Backer. comprehensive public health media initiatives. but many precedents demonstrate that it can be done. Office of National Drug Control Policy n. what they would like to know. their results need to be consolidated and analyzed. We must promote an exchange of information among researchers. using these findings and others like them to support and inform those involved in raising adolescents.
or demoralized. but with RAISING TEENS R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K such as violence and learning. in which parents feel blamed. or demoralized because they are being asked to shoulder responsibilities that require more support and/or must be shared by the larger society. and their preferences for whether.As a second step. is preparing a working paper that includes suggestions for reframing public attitudes toward teens. Particularly important in the planning and evaluation of campaigns regarding parenting issues is monitoring to assure that messages do not have a “boomerang” effect. Many organizations. for example. 71 . building on the findings of previous research and practice. projects. anxious. •  FrameWorks Institute 2000. when. given the many ways in which teens and families are portrayed in entertainment and news information and identified as a special target for advertising. to raise public consciousness about the surprising prevalence and staggering costs of abuse and neglect among American adolescents. •  Galinsky 1999. Glik et al. 1995. building on recent studies sponsored by NPA and others. 1990. •  Dombro et al. •  Galinsky 2000. A major opportunity is being overlooked. together with the Center for Communications and Community at UCLA. The New York–based National Parenting Association (NPA) is planning an initiative to survey parents more extensively about these issues. in which young people are surveyed about specific issues Institute. and strategies for raising preadolescents that help lay a foundation for adolescence. pooling their energy and experience in a shared cause. In other words. the planning of such campaigns needs to be based not only on research about adolescence. 1996. and mobilizing community involvement. and approaches should be welcomed and involved. •  DeJong and Winsten 1998. entertainment as well as advertising and informational media should be more engaged in this effort. integrating a variety of strategies to target the great diversity of audiences that is involved in raising adolescents and shaping programs and policies that impact them. Montgomery 1990. including abuse and neglect of adolescents. anxious. the Families and Work Institute is conducting a series of studies. Also based in New York.  Wooden 2000. new initiatives need to be supported that supplement these studies with more information regarding parents’ beliefs about the importance and nature of parenting in adolescence. in which parents feel blamed. A campaign in this area should build on the successes of campaigns to prevent the abuse of young children. 1997. 1989. including positive messages about youth. The Washington-based FrameWorks Particularly important is monitoring to assure that messages do not have a “boomerang” effect. Certain specific areas should also be the subject of special media initiatives. what. Ultimately. rather than undermines. Steckler et al. their knowledge of adolescent development. and effective communications. parents in their efforts to be better parents. but also on research about what actually supports. following up on the recently published Ask the Children. and how more support and information would be helpful. Also essential to media initiatives in this area is a multifaceted and collaborative approach. in preparation for a campaign to heighten public awareness about the importance of parents and parenting. their needs. parenting.
certain basic principles have stood the tests of time. in addition to in-person meetings. While this Project could outline a kind of “job description” for parents of adolescents. 72 RAISING TEENS .” Despite the interplay of values. In other words. The next step is to bring together a diversity of leaders. to delineate the body of research and experience about which they can say. and consensus building. and research limitations. One of the many benefits of such a consensus-building process is that it might allow for articulation of more specific strategies for parents than can be distilled from reviews of research literature. diversity.” Options for doing so are expanding rapidly. “This much we know. satellite. the comments of many researchers and practitioners who reviewed this report indicate that there is far more common ground yet to explore. The answer has been an unequivocal “yes. but that have not yet received widespread attention in the review literature and hence were beyond the scope of this report. open. that is. R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K The Harvard Project on the Parenting of Adolescents was designed in part to explore the question of whether there are areas of well-established knowledge about adolescence and parenting that can be identified and communicated to parents. debate. and scientific validity. and differences in prevention strategies. A campaign focusing on the “basics” of raising preadolescents so as to lay a foundation for healthy adolescent development would meet a similarly critical need. Many reviewers offered points that they observed to be well established. with the introduction of email. However. meetings among leaders could potentially offer more details about the skills and techniques needed to do the job. limitations in detection and treatment options. video. for exchange. and web-based conferencing. experience. in person or electronically.crucial modifications to take into account the realities of the negative cultural images of teens. for example. and efficient ways to identify and validate the points on which they agree. Such a campaign would inevitably be more challenging than efforts to protect young children. Build further consensus among researchers and other leaders in the field regarding what is known about parenting and adolescence. an infrastructure needs to be fostered in which experts on parenting come together in visible. but enormously rewarding in that it would fill a critical need that is largely unmet in the American media. to clarify and expand further the findings of this Project and others like it.
with discrimination based on ethnicity. and what is uncertain. and where must strategies differ for families coping. the following topics emerge from this Project as among the most timely and compelling: • Further strategies for common parenting dilemmas. immigrant status. in particular. . In what ways does a youngster’s ethnic background affect the kinds of parenting strategies that are important? How can research that has been conducted on European American and middle-class populations be reevaluated in light of America’s rich and profound diversity of class and ethnicity? What qualities of parenting are unique to particular groups and subgroups. what is the common ground. family structure. and policy makers with more resources for sorting out what is clear. what is culturally based. disability. as well as the skills for accomplishing them? Where is the common ground. same-sex partners. and what is uncertain. for example. affirmed. drugs. what is culturally based. the goal is to provide parents. and in forging alliances to combat the problems? • Brain development in adolescence. how does it affect parenting strategies for families to immigrate to the United States from another country? Ultimately. single mothers and fathers. religion. illness. What is known about the major biological changes in adolescence. in raising awareness both among those who are and those who are not targeted by them. parents and other partners. and other factors have lasting effects? How can knowledge of brain development and other biological changes be useful in guiding parents’ expectations and interactions with their teens? • Abuse of adolescents. in particular profound and lasting poverty. step- Ultimately. why is it not more effectively addressed. Breaking down the options for consensus building into specific areas. What is known about the nature and prevalence of abuse of adolescents. practitioners. including brain development? What occurs and when? To what extent can the biological changes be linked to behavioral changes? In what ways do nutrition. and other characteristics? What strategies have been found to be effective for parents in protecting teens from the damage caused by these forces. and what can be done? How can we improve the likelihood that abuse will be identified and treated? What can be done to prevent abuse from happening? What can be communicated to parents to help them be 73 R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K RAISING TEENS such as families headed by grandparents. Using this report as a working paper. the goal is to provide parents. and extended? What can be added. influence parenting strategies? What differences emerge from diversity of family structure. regarding strategies for parenting adolescents that address parents’ concerns. practitioners. how can its findings be refined. class.Also important to the consensus-building process is delineating and affirming the areas on which there is variation across and within ethnic groups. and policy makers with more resources for sorting out what is clear. and what can different groups learn from each other? In what ways does a family’s economic circumstances. and others? Also. what is common. as well as highlighting the gaps that need further research. what is common.
and about teens? What can be done to enhance their positive effects and mitigate negative ones? What can parents do to influence the images reaching their teens? Make available to the media and parents more “parent-friendly” versions of existing information on adolescent development and its implications for parenting. both for parents and teens? • R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K Preparing for adolescence. including good communication patterns and family activities that can continue through adolescence. in entertainment television. What is known about the images of parents. legal. on the Internet. Steinberg and Levine 1997. Implicit in the findings of this report is the principle that it helps significantly if families have established solid relationships prior to adolescence. and sexual RAISING TEENS orientation? What messages do parents take away from these images about parenting. see Siegler 1997. social service. and educational systems? What strategies can be helpful for getting adequate resources. Although there is a wealth of research on adolescent development. family structure. They need to understand that some of these behaviors are not permanent and that most reflect and contribute to healthy development. 1984. Parents need to know approximately when they are likely to occur—often earlier than most parents expect.  For examples of exceptions among trade books.aware of what constitutes abuse. Tatum 1997. Parents need a “dictionary” that translates adolescent behaviors—from their strange clothes to their hostile outbursts to their risk taking—into developmental terms. How can parents assess what role to play in advocating for and supporting their troubled teen? What suggestions can be offered to parents for navigating the health care. Parents face special challenges when their teens are coping with issues such as mental illness. 74 . class. and their relationships that are conveyed in Hollywood films. Elkind 1994. teens. What can be said about ways that parents of younger children and preadolescents can lay a foundation for the developmental tasks and parenting role during adolescence? What principles of parenting are common across the age span. in popular music. substance abuse. in local and national news. surprisingly few efforts have been made to convey basic developmental information to parents of adolescents in ways that are accessible and useful across a variety of media. and delinquency. from infancy through adolescence? • Portrayal of parent-teen relationships in the news and entertainment media. and in advertising? How do these images differ for families and teens across differences of ethnicity. and what consequences it has? What strategies can be offered to parents to protect teens from abuse? What can be done at the level of reducing the stresses that trigger abuse? • Parenting of troubled adolescents.
unfounded fears from real risks. late adolescence. self-centered. ethnicity. and withdraw to their room? When and to what extent is it appropriate for teens to be moody. religion. contradict themselves. within schools and communities. forget chores and appointments. This developmental information also needs to be linked to strategies for parents. and individual ability. Therefore. hostile. and young adulthood. how are preadolescence. monitoring. defiant. middle adolescence. in school. Tapping the recent burgeoning of literature on the subject. and how can parents support these steps during and after adolescence? Available more extensively for parents of young children. criticize themselves. including preadolescent development.Like parents of younger children. Although they can see physical growth and sexual maturing. and emotional development? What do major leaps in abstract thinking look like at home. nonetheless some characteristic changes distinguish preadolescence. and will it pass? Why do teens dye their hair green. and young adulthood typically different? What can parents look forward to when their teens become young adults? What are the developmental steps that follow adolescence. RAISING TEENS R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K and distant? To what extent are these behaviors temporary? Will they end? 75 . experiment with drugs. While there may be more variability within the phases of adolescence than of childhood. Similarly distilled. and in relationships? Is it “normal” for teens to become self-conscious. middle adolescence. and self-absorbed. through decision making. They need information that allows them to sort out image from reality. And what prompts them? Also. and advocacy. denounce parents. and typical teen behaviors from the uncommon ones that tend to attract media and community attention. “parent-friendly” knowledge about the basics and their implications is also needed for parents regarding related areas of development. parents also need to understand how they can influence teens’ experience of race. it would be a powerful asset for parents to have this information more readily available in usable formats. social. Parents need to know which characteristics of each phase they can influence directly. pierce multiple body parts. and which ones they can influence indirectly. sexual orientation. talk on the telephone for hours. immigrant status. late adolescence. early adult development. early adolescence. what about the “growth spurts” in cognitive. early adolescence. get paralyzed trying to make decisions. they also need “ages and stages” information to help them understand what the developmental milestones look like and roughly when to expect them. this kind of developmental information is essential for helping parents to adjust their expectations appropriately and to plan how best to support their teen’s growth. gender. and the developmental changes common at midlife that parents themselves are experiencing.
the media.  See. need assistance in evaluating the parenting resources that do exist. Communicating with parents and involving parents must be viewed as an integral part of working effectively with teens. and support. Also important is the need to make information more accessible to the professional groups with whom parents come into contact and to whom they often turn for advice and information. professionals and parents alike need information about how to assess the credibility of experts and ideas. These professional groups have a unique opportunity and responsibility to support and encourage the efforts of parents. religious leaders. Local and statewide parent telephone information lines and clearinghouses are scattered around the country. religious leaders. curriculum development. ages of children. national clearinghouse is urgently needed to link these efforts and catalyze the creation of new ones to fill in the gaps. staff training. mental health counselors. including within school systems and community programs. schools. These resources should include referrals to print and electronic information. Given the confusing array of experts and options available in the media and the community. and others better access to current knowledge on parenting adolescents. such as teachers. major. special initiatives. For many parents. the idea of seeking information about parenting is either new or embarrassing. R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K A single. family support centers. and ethnicity. formally and informally. community groups. Resources are needed to make information easier to find and use by creating widely publicized. on behalf of positive youth development. other adults. At the same time. and to people and programs from whom parents can seek personal contact. for example. Especially important are initiatives that strengthen community involve- RAISING TEENS ment. including parents.Strengthen informational resources—such as clearinghouses. and parenting programs—that will allow parents. mobilizing parents. and coordination with other local services. physicians. advocates. all these groups. Mertensmeyer and Fine 2000. with effective outreach. practitioners. as well as how to determine which ones are appropriate for specific families and circumstances. and teens. exchange. Also needed is an increase in the quality and quantity of parenting and family support programs for those raising teenagers. 76 . across states. evaluation. easily accessible clearinghouses and programs that can refer parents to the information they need. policy makers. targeted to and designed for their needs. and the media. class. including an emphasis on quality information for parents of teens as well as younger children.
researchers. in particular the parenting of adolescents.These efforts also need to be coordinated with those of advocacy organizations and community initiatives in which parents join with community leaders. and to collaborate with its efforts. think about parenting. This report is an invitation to the media. We look forward to working with you. and policy makers to tap its findings. our workplaces. In some ways. our neighborhoods. parents. we can shift negative perceptions about parenting and adolescence. More mechanisms are needed that allow us to listen. as a society. neighborhoods. We have an opportunity to revolutionize the way in which we. and other support systems for teens and families. We can raise awareness about the importance of parenting during adolescence. to build on its ideas. and our lives. R E C O M M E N D AT I O N S F O R F U T U R E W O R K 77 RAISING TEENS . practitioners. The power to do so is well within our grasp. and we can provide tools for raising healthy teenagers. religious leaders. to join together. community leaders. policy makers. and others in collaborative efforts to create safe and healthy schools. practitioners. and the effects will reverberate throughout our schools. our courts. researchers. and to respond. teens and their parents are reflecting back to us the problems in American families and the larger society.
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Washington. Moses. University of Texas at Austin. University of Missouri-Columbia. M. Ph.D.. RAISING TEENS Janet C. Ph. University of Michigan. Pediatrician. Temple University. Holden. Stuart T. Senior Fellow.S. Salem.D.D. National Academy of ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Sciences.. Director. Director.D. Ph. Medical Department.S. Dana McDermott... Education. Casey Journalism Center for Children and Families. Vonnie C. Wheelock College Graduate School.D.. Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science. Board on Children. Chair. Psychology Department..A.D.. Department of Psychology. Chair. Loyola University of Chicago.D. Laura Sessions Stepp. M. Ellen Galinsky. Judy Osborne.D. Newberger.D. Education Department. Ph. Harvard Medical School. McLoyd. President. Cambridge. 94 . C. Laura H. Stephen A. Human Development and Psychology. Search Institute.C... Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.D.F. and Families. President.. M. Youth.L. Ph. Ph..D. Phyllis Sonnenschein. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ph. Professor. Lecturer. Harvard Medical School. Bryn Mawr College... The Parent Center. Carnell Professor of Psychology. Belinda Rollins. Peter C. Reporter. Professor and Associate Chair. Program Director. Laurence Steinberg. Judge Baker Children’s Center.Acknowledgments More than 20 researchers and practitioners were kind enough to review all or portions of this report in draft form... Small. Eli H. President.. Massachusetts. ParentLink..D.. . Harvard Graduate School of Education. Board of Advisors. Lerner. Stepfamily Associates. Richard M. Parenting Coalition International.. Department of Psychology. Ph. Ph. The Washington Post.. Deborah Stern..D. Ph. Brown University.D.D. Kipke. Scales.A.. Adjunct Professor of Psychology. Children’s Friend and Family Services. M. Psychology. Families First Parenting Programs. Ph. M. University of Michigan. Ed.D. Ph. Harriet Heath. Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development.D. D. Ph. Los Angeles. Tufts University.G.D. Director for Program Planning and Evaluation. Psychoanalytic Institute. Carol Mertensmeyer. Distinguished University Professor. They were: Jacquelynne S. Massachusetts. Ph. Philadelphia. and Pediatrics. Eccles.. Michele D.. and Professor. Minneapolis. Hauser. Professor of Education and Chair. Families and Work Institute.S. Professor of Psychiatry. Professor.E. Jack Simons. Cynthia García Coll.D. M. Boston. Director.. Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. Senior Consultant.D. Ph. Psy. C. Brookline. Robert L. Selman. New York. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. George W.
and Martha Muldoon. Winsten. as Research Assistant. who at different times coordinated the Project as Administrative Assistants. gathered. and initiatives responded quickly and generously to the staff’s request for materials and references during the Project’s extensive canvassing for research and other information.. who. Their insightful and generous participation made a critical difference in the ability of the report to reflect the current thinking of leaders in the field. Director of Health Information. including my daughter. who. analyzed. Paula Silver. Financial Assistant. experience. and summarized the research findings on parenting of adolescents. and Terry Swack. who reviewed the draft and offered wise counsel throughout. as Research Specialist. Gabriel Bocanegra. hundreds of researchers. and changes of emphasis. and by serving as sounding boards on strategy. Susan Moses also played an important role in decision making and oversight. as they suggested important additions. Susan Berger. The Project team included Kathy Simons. Maria LaRusso.The expertise of this remarkable group. They are to be congratulated for all they accomplished and for the unusual “grace under pressure” with which they did so. Dianne Weiss. not all reviewers read all sections of the draft. Also. corrections. as well as any errors. 95 . Their unusual level of skill. and analyze a massive amount of research information in Fahrenheit designed the report. offices. As Deputy Director of the Center. and dedication made it possible to idena very short time. who served as Principal Investigator on the Project. provided very helpful suggestions on aspects of project management and information design and strategy. Ph. consolidate. In addition. and Deborah Stern. Based at the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health. Others on the Center staff who were very helpful in key aspects of the project included Terri Mendoza. by brainstorming ideas. as consultants. Paula Silver. I also had the honor and pleasure of consulting with all three of my adult children during the course of the project. played a similar role with respect to the research on adolescent development. Claudia Corra. Will and Theo. who contributed significant insights to the development of the concepts. including by reading and commenting on multiple drafts. However. A few colleagues provided ongoing support and guidance at a level far beyond their formal roles in the Project. and my sons. Maia. Paul Montie of RAISING TEENS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS tify.D. Kathy Simons. Also critical to the success of the Project was its outstanding staff of research and administrative assistants. the Project also benefited from the expertise of Jay A. Associate Dean and Center Director. Staff Assistant. and Alissa Menovich. who fact-checked the references. remain the responsibility of the author. including their diverse disciplinary and ethnic perspectives. It is with special gratitude that I acknowledge the very extraordinary contributions of Harriet Heath. significantly strengthened the draft. The overall concepts. programs. and Megan Hartman.
adolescents. MacArthur Foundation. and Catherine T.The Project was made possible by a grant from the John D. The Project. was a collective effort. in short. 96 RAISING TEENS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . reflecting the very kind of collaboration and commitment that holds so much promise as we seek to improve the lives of parents. and was greatly enhanced by the superb guidance of its Program Officer. and families. To everyone who contributed. Idy Gitelson. my deepest thanks.
D. she is Founding Chair of the National Parenting Education Network and Founding President of the Parenting Education Network of Massachusetts. Photography: cover. Rae Simpson. served on the faculty at MIT in the area of science writing and public understanding of science. media. youth violence (the “Squash It!” campaign). Jay A. She consults nationally and locally on issues in parenting education and mass communication with corporations. she has written and lectured extensively for both professional and popular audiences on the role of the mass media in communicating science and health information to the public. Dr.. MA 02139 Telephone: 617/253-1592 Fax: 617/253-2609 Email: rsimpson@mit. she prepared a report in 1997 entitled The Role of the Mass Media in Parenting Education. and foundations. Author of The Visible Scientists (Little.D.edu About the Center for Health Communication The Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health works closely with scholars in the behavioral sciences and with practitioners in advertising. ImageBank pages 15. funded by the John D. in communication research from Stanford University in 1975. MacArthur Foundation. advertising firms. is Frank Stanton Director of the Center. Simpson can be reached by contacting: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 77 Massachusetts Avenue. Susie Fitzhugh page 29. Brown 1977). She received her Ph. Ph. Active in organizing the field of parenting education. Room 16-151 Cambridge. and. Stephanie Felix page 69. marketing. government.About the Author A. The Center has conducted major. and Catherine T. 47. is Administrator of Parenting Programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and consultant to the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health. Associate Dean for Public and Community Affairs at the Harvard School of Public Health. Having initiated the Center's efforts in the area of parenting and media.D. before developing the MIT parenting program. and mentoring (the Harvard Mentoring Project). Ph. and public relations to learn more about human behavior and how to influence it through mass communication. Winsten. widely known initiatives around such issues as drunk driving (the Designated Driver Campaign).. Boston Photo Collaborative .
Suite 329 Boston.Project on the Parenting of Adolescents Center for Health Communication Harvard School of Public Health 677 Huntington Avenue.harvard. Massachusetts 02115 Telephone: 617/432-1038 Fax: 617/731-8184 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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