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PowerPoint slides prepared by Leonard R.

Mendola, PhD
Touro College 1
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Chapter 8: Families
Outline
• Family Processes
– Reciprocal Socialization and the Family as a System
– Maturation
• Adolescents’ and Emerging Adults’ Relationships with
Their Parents
– Parents as Managers
– Parenting Styles
– Coparenting
– Parent-Adolescent Conflict
– Autonomy and Attachment
– Emerging Adults’ Relationships with Their Parents
– Intergenerational Relationships
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Chapter 8: Families
Outline
• Sibling Relationships
– Sibling Roles
– Birth Order
• The Changing Family in a Changing Society
– Divorced Families
– Stepfamilies
– Working Parents
– Adoption
– Gay and Lesbian Parents
– Culture and Ethnicity
• Social Policy, Adolescents, and Families
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Preview

• Although parent-adolescent relationships can vary


considerably, researchers are finding that for the most
part, the relationships are both (1) very important aspects
of development, and (2) more positive than once thought
• This chapter examines families as a context for
adolescent development
• We begin by exploring family processes and then discuss
parent-adolescent relationships, followed by relationships
with siblings

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Preview

• Next, we consider the substantial changes of families in a


changing society
• The chapter concludes by focusing on social policy
recommendations for the well-being of adolescents and
their families

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Family Processes

• Reciprocal Socialization and the Family as a System


• Maturation
– Adolescent Changes
– Parental Changes
– Multiple Developmental Trajectories

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Reciprocal Socialization and the
Family as a System
• Reciprocal socialization: The process by which children
and adolescents socialize just as parents socialize
• As a social system, the family can be thought of as a
constellation of subsystems defined in terms of
generation, gender, and role
– Each family member is a participant in several subsystems
– When the behavior of one family member changes, it can
influence the behavior of other family members (Sturge-
Apple, Davies, & Cummings, 2010)

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Figure 8.1

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Reciprocal Socialization and the
Family as a System
• As researchers have broadened their focus in families
beyond just studying the parent-adolescent relationship,
an increasingly studied aspect of the family system
involves the link between marital relationships and
parenting
– The most consistent findings are that happily married
parents are more sensitive, responsive, warm, and
affectionate toward their children and adolescents (Fosco
& Grych, 2010)

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Maturation

• Adolescent changes
– Physical, cognitive, and socioemotional changes in the
adolescent can influence parent-adolescent relationships
• Several investigations have shown that conflict between parents
and adolescents, especially between mothers and sons, is the most
stressful during the apex of pubertal growth (Steinberg, 1988)
– With increased logical skills, adolescents want to know,
often in fine detail, why they are being disciplined
• Even when parents give what seem to be logical reasons for
discipline, adolescents’ cognitive sophistication may call attention
to deficiencies in the reasoning

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Maturation

– The adolescent’s increasing idealistic thought comes into


play in parent-adolescent relationships
• Parents are now evaluated vis-à-vis what an ideal parent is
– Expectations parents and adolescents have for each other
may change
• Preadolescent children are often compliant and easy to manage
• As they enter puberty, children begin to question or seek rationales
for parental demands
– Adolescents spend more time with peers than when they
were children, and also begin to push more strongly for
independence

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Maturation

• Parent changes
– Parental changes that contribute to parent-adolescent
relationships involve:
• Marital satisfaction
• Economic burdens
• Career reevaluation
• Time perspective
• Health and body concerns
– For most parents, marital satisfaction increases after
adolescents or emerging adults leave home (Fingerman,
2011)

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Multiple Developmental Trajectories

• Multiple developmental trajectories: The fact that adults


follow one trajectory and children and adolescents follow
another one (Parke & Buriel, 2006; Parke & Clarke-
Stewart, 2011)
– How adult and child/adolescent developmental trajectories mesh
is important for understanding the timing of entry into various
family tasks
• Adult developmental trajectories include timing of entry into
marriage, cohabitation, or parenthood
• Child developmental trajectories include timing of child care and
entry into middle school

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Multiple Developmental Trajectories

• Timing of parenthood in the United States has undergone


some dramatic shifts
• The marital relationship varies with the timing of
parenthood onset

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Adolescents’ and Emerging Adults’
Relationships with Their Parents

• Parents as Managers
• Parenting Styles
– Parenting Styles and Ethnicity
– Parenting Styles in Emerging Adulthood
– Further Thoughts on Parenting Styles
• Coparenting
• Parent-Adolescent Conflict

15
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Adolescents’ and Emerging Adults’
Relationships with Their Parents

• Autonomy and Attachment


– Autonomy
– Attachment and Connectedness
• Emerging Adults’ Relationships with Their Parents
• Intergenerational Relationships

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Adolescents’ and Emerging Adults’
Relationships with Their Parents

• Many parents see their child changing from a compliant


being into someone who is noncompliant, oppositional,
and resistant to parental standards
– The transition from childhood to adulthood is a long
journey with many hills and valleys
– Parents who recognize that adolescents take a long time
“to get it right” usually deal more competently and calmly
with adolescent transgressions
• Neither high-intensity demands for compliance nor an
unwillingness to monitor and be involved in the
adolescent’s development is likely to be a wise parenting
strategy
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Parents as Managers

• To help adolescents reach their full potential, parents can


assume an important role as effective managers who find
information, make contacts, help structure choices, and
provide guidance (Gauvain & Perez, 2007)
• Parents can serve as regulators of opportunities for the
adolescents’ social contact with peers, friends, and adults

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Parents as Managers

• Researchers have found that family-management


practices are positively related to students’ grades and
self-responsibility, and negatively to school-related
problems (Eccles, 2007)
– One of the most important family-management practices is
maintaining a structured and organized family
environment

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Parents as Managers

• A key aspect of the managerial role of parenting is


effective monitoring, which is especially important as
children move into the adolescent years (Guilamo-
Ramos, Jaccard, & Dittus, 2010; Laird, Marrero, &
Sherwood, 2010; Smetana, 2010, 2011a, 2011b)
• Researchers have found that adolescents’ disclosure to
parents about their whereabouts, activities, and friends is
linked to positive adolescent adjustment (Laird &
Marrero, 2010; Smetana, 2011a, 2011b)

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Parenting Styles

• Psychologists have long searched for parenting


ingredients that promote competent social development in
adolescents (Chen, 2009a, 2009b)
• Especially widespread is the view of Diana Baumrind
(1971, 1991) , who emphasizes four styles of parenting
that are associated with different aspects of adolescent’s
social behavior:
– Authoritarian – A restrictive, punitive style
– Authoritative – A style in which parents encourage
adolescents to be independent but still place limits and
controls on their actions
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Parenting Styles

– Neglectful – A style in which the parent is very uninvolved


in the adolescent’s life
– Indulgent – A style in which parents are highly involved
with their adolescents but place few demands or controls on
them

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Figure 8.2

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Parenting Styles

• In general, researchers have found authoritative parenting to


be related to positive aspects of development (Steinberg &
Silk, 2002)
• Parenting styles and ethnicity
– In general, African American, Latino, and Asian American parents use
the authoritarian style more than do non-Latino White parents, who
more often use an authoritative style (Fuligni, Hughes, & Way, 2009)
– Research with ethnic groups suggests that some aspects of the
authoritarian style may be associated with positive child outcomes
(Dixon, Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, 2008; Parke & Buriel, 2006)
• Elements of the authoritarian style may take on different meanings and
have different effects, depending on the context

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Parenting Styles

• Parenting styles in emerging adulthood


– A recent study examined mothers’ and fathers’ parenting
styles with their emerging adult children (Nelson & others,
2010)
• An authoritative parenting style by both mothers and fathers was
linked with positive outcomes in emerging adulthood children
• The most negative outcomes were related to a controlling-
indulgent style on the part of both mothers and fathers

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Parenting Styles

• Further thoughts on parenting styles


– The parenting styles do not capture the important themes
of reciprocal socialization and synchrony (Collins &
Steinberg, 2006)
– Many parents use a combination of techniques rather than
single technique
– Some critics argue that the concept of parenting style is too
broad
• More research needs to be conducted to “unpack” parenting styles
by studying various components that comprise the styles (Grusec,
2011)

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Coparenting

• The organizing theme of coparenting is that poor


coordination, active undermining and disparagement of
the other parent, lack of cooperation and warmth, and
disconnection by one parenting partner are conditions
that place children and adolescents at developmental risk
(Ipolitto Morrill & others, 2010)
• In a longitudinal study, parents reported that child-
rearing issues were a central aspect of coparenting
conflict and that coparenting conflict was linked to
parents’ negativity and adolescent adjustment three years
later
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Parent-Adolescent Conflict

• For the most part, the generation gap is a stereotype


– Most adolescents and their parents have similar beliefs
about the value of hard work, achievement, and career
aspirations (Gecas & Seff, 1990), and often have similar
religious and political beliefs
• Early adolescence is a time when parent-adolescent
conflict escalates beyond parent-child conflict (Smetana,
2008b)

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Parent-Adolescent Conflict

• Although conflict with parents does increase in early


adolescence, it does not reach the tumultuous proportions
envisioned by G. Stanley Hall (Laursen & Collins, 2009)
– Much of the conflict involves the everyday events of
family life

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Parent-Adolescent Conflict

• In one study of conflict in a number of social


relationships, adolescents reported having more
disagreements with their mother than with anyone else
(Laursen, 1995)
• About 20% of families, parents and adolescents engage
in prolonged, intense, repeated, unhealthy conflict
(Montemayor, 1982)

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Parent-Adolescent Conflict

• Although in some cases adolescent problems may be


caused by intense, prolonged parent-adolescent conflict,
in others the problems might have originated before the
onset of adolescence (Darling, 2008)
• Cross-cultural studies reveal that parent-adolescent
conflict is lower in some countries than in the United
States

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Autonomy and Attachment

• The increased independence that typifies adolescence is


interpreted as rebellion by some parents, but in many
instances adolescents’ push for autonomy has little to do
with their feelings toward their parents
• Defining adolescent autonomy is more complex and
elusive that it might at first seem (McElhaney & others,
2009)
– The term autonomy generally connotes self-direction and
independence
• One aspect of autonomy that is especially important is
emotional autonomy, the capacity to relinquish childlike
dependencies on parents 32
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Autonomy and Attachment

• Gender differences characterize autonomy granting in


adolescence
– Boys are usually given more independence than girls
– In one study, this was especially true in those U.S. families
with a traditional gender-role orientation (Bumpus,
Crouter, & McHale, 2001)
• Expectations about the appropriate timing of adolescent
autonomy often vary across cultures, parents, and
adolescents (Fuligni, Hughes, & Way, 2009)
• Many emerging adults experience a transition in the
development of autonomy when they leave home and go
away to college (Seiffge-Krenke, 2006) 33
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Autonomy and Attachment

• Adolescent runaways
– An estimated 1.6 million youth run away from home each
year in the United States (Walsh & Donaldson, 2010)
– Generally, runaways are desperately unhappy at home
– Many runaways are from families in which a parent or
another adult beats them or sexually exploits them (Chen
& others, 2004)

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Autonomy and Attachment

– Running away often is a gradual process, as adolescents


begin to spend less time at home and more time on the
streets or with a peer group
– A recent longitudinal study of more than 4,000 youth from
grade 9 to age 21 found that running away from home was
linked to lack of parental support, school disengagement,
depressive symptoms, and substance use in grade 9
(Tucker & others, 2010)

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Autonomy and Attachment

• Adolescents do not simply move away from parental


influence into a decision-making world all their own
• As they become more autonomous, it is psychologically
healthy for them to be attached to their parents
• Attachment theorists such as John Bowlby (1989) and
Mary Ainsworth (1979) argue that secure attachment in
infancy is central to the development of social
competence

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Autonomy and Attachment

• In secure attachment, infants use the caregiver, usually


the mother, as a secure base from which to explore the
environment
– Theorized to be an important foundation for psychological
development later in childhood, adolescence, and
adulthood
• In insecure attachment, infants either avoid the
caregiver or show considerable resistance or ambivalence
toward the caregiver
– Theorized to be related to difficulties in relationships and
problems in later development (Sroufe, Coffino, &
Carlson, 2010)
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Autonomy and Attachment

• One of the most widely discussed aspects of


socioemotional development in infancy is secure
attachment to caregivers (Sroufe, Coffino, & Carlson,
2010)
– In the past decade, researchers have explored whether
secure attachment also might be an important concept in
adolescents’ relationships with their parents (Laursen &
Collins, 2009; Rosenthal & Kobak, 2010)

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Autonomy and Attachment

• In a recent analysis, it was concluded that the most


consistent outcomes of secure attachment in adolescence
involve positive peer relations and development of the
adolescent’s emotion regulation capacities (Allen &
Miga, 2010)

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Autonomy and Attachment

• The old model of parent-adolescent relationships


suggested that:
– As adolescents mature, they detach themselves from parents and
move into a world of autonomy apart from parents
– Parent-adolescent conflict is intense and stressful throughout
adolescence
• The new model emphasizes that:
– Parents serve as important attachment figures, resources, and
support systems as adolescents explore a wider, more complex
social world
– In the majority of families, parent-adolescent conflict is
moderate rather than severe and that everyday negotiations and
minor disputes are normal 40
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Figure 8.3

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Autonomy and Attachment

• Although relationships with romantic partners differ from


those of parents, romantic partners fulfill some of the
same needs for adults as parents do for their children
(Shaver & Mikulincer, 2007, 2012)
• In a retrospective study, Hazen and Shaver (1987)
revealed that young adults who were securely attached in
their romantic relationships were more likely to describe
their early relationship with their parents as securely
attached

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Autonomy and Attachment

• Researchers are studying links between adults’ current


attachment styles and many aspects of their lives
(Mikulincer & others, 2010)
• Although attachment insecurities are linked to
relationship problems, attachment style makes only a
moderate-size contribution to relationship functioning
and that other factors contribute to relationship
satisfaction and success (Ein-Dor & others, 2010; Shaver
& Mikulincer, 2012)

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Emerging Adults Relationships with Their
Parents
• For the most part, emerging adults’ relationship with
their parents improve when they leave home
• They often grow closer psychologically to their parents
and share more with them than they did before they left
home (Arnett, 2007)
• Challenges in the parent-emerging adult relationship
involve the emerging adult’s increasing autonomy by
possessing adult status in many areas yet still depending
on parents in some manner (Aquilino, 2006)
• In successful emerging adulthood, individuals separate
from their family of origin without cutting off ties
completely or fleeing to some substitute emotional refuge
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Emerging Adults Relationships with Their
Parents
• In today’s uncertain economic times, many emerging
adults continue to live at home or return to live at home
after several years of college or after graduating from
college, or to save money after taking a full-time job
(Furman, 2005)
• As with most living arrangements, there are both pluses
and minuses when emerging adult children live at home
or return to live at home
• One of the most common complaints voiced by both emerging
adults and their parents is a loss of privacy

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Intergenerational Relationships

• Connections between generations play important roles in


development through the life span (Fingerman, 2011;
Silverstein & Giarrusso, 2010)
• A recent study revealed that emerging and young adults
with children see their parents more frequently than their
counterparts who do not have children (Bucx,
Raaijmakers, & Van Wel, 2010
• Gender differences also characterize intergenerational
relationships (Etaugh & Bridges, 2010)
• Culture and ethnicity also are important aspects of
intergenerational relationships
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Sibling Relationships

• Sibling Roles
• Birth Order

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Sibling Roles

• Approximately 80% of American adolescents have one or


more siblings (Dunn, 2007)
• Conflict is only one of the main dimensions of sibling
relations (Conger & Kramer, 2010; Howe, Ross, & Recchia,
2011)
– Other dimensions include helping, sharing, teaching, fighting, playing,
emotional support, rivalry, and communication (East, 2009; Howe,
Ross, & Recchia, 2011)
• Three important characteristics of sibling relationships (Dunn,
2007):
– Emotional quality of the relationship
– Familiarity and intimacy of the relationship
– Variation in sibling relationships
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Sibling Roles

• In dealing with peers, coping with difficult teachers, and


discussing taboo subjects (such as sex), siblings can be
more influential in socializing adolescents than parents
are
• High sibling conflict can be detrimental to adolescent
development, especially when combined with ineffective
parenting (East, 2009; Kramer, 2010)

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Sibling Roles

• Most siblings spend far less time with each other in


emerging adulthood than they did in adolescence
– As siblings move out of their home and sibling contact
becomes more optional, conflicted sibling relationships in
adolescence often become less emotionally intense
(Hetherington & Kelly, 2002)

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Birth Order

• Whether an adolescent has older or younger siblings has


been linked to development of certain personality
characteristics
– A recent review concluded that “firstborns are the most
intelligent, achieving, and conscientiousness, while later-
borns are the most rebellious, liberal and agreeable”
(Paulhus, 2008, p. 210)
• Birth order plays a role in siblings’ relationships with
each other (Vandell, Minnett, & Santrock, 1987)
• Characterizing later-borns is difficult because they can
occupy so many different sibling positions
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Birth Order

• The popular conception of the only child is that of a


“spoiled brat,” but research presents a more positive
portrayal of the only child (Thomas, Coffman, & Kipp,
1993)
• Family researchers have found that birth order has often
been overemphasized
• Critics argue that, when all of the factors that influence
adolescent behavior are considered, birth order itself
shows limited ability to predict adolescent behavior

52
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The Changing Family in a Changing Society

• Divorced Families
– Adolescents’ Adjustment in Divorced Families
– Should Parents Stay Together for the Sake of the Children
and Adolescents?
– How Much Do Family Processes Matter in Divorced
Families?
– What Factors are Involved in the Adolescent’s Individual
Risk Vulnerability in a Divorced Family?
– What Role Does Socioeconomic Status Play in the Lives
of Adolescents in Divorced Families?

53
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The Changing Family in a Changing Society

• Stepfamilies
– Types of Stepfamilies
– Adjustment

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The Changing Family in a Changing Society

• Working Parents
– Working Parents and Adolescent Adjustment
– Latchkey Adolescents
• Adoption
– The Increased Diversity of Adopted Children and
Adoptive Parents
– Developmental Outcomes for Adopted and Nonadopted
Children
– Parenting Adopted Adolescents

55
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The Changing Family in a Changing Society

• Gay and Lesbian Parents


• Culture and Ethnicity

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The Changing Family in a Changing Society

• More U.S. adolescents are growing up in a wider variety


of family structures than every before in history
• The United States has the highest percentage of single-
parent families, compared with virtually all other
countries
– By age 18, approximately ¼ of all American children will have
lived a portion of their lives in a stepfamily

57
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Figure 8.4

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Divorced Families

• The U.S. divorce rate increased dramatically in the 1960s


and 1970s but has declined since the 1980s (Amato &
Dorius, 2010)
– It is estimated that 40% of children born to married parents will
experience their parents’ divorce (Hetherington & Stanley-
Hagan, 2002)
• Adolescents’ Adjustment in Divorced Families
– Most researchers agree that children, adolescents, and emerging
adults from divorced families show poorer adjustment than their
counterparts in non-divorced families (Hetherington, 2005,
2006; Lansford, 2009; Parke & Clarke-Stewart, 2011;
Wallerstein, 2008)
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Figure 8.5

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Divorced Families

– Those who have experienced multiple divorces are at


greater risk
– Note that marital conflict may have negative consequences
for children in the context of marriage or divorce
(Cummings & Davies, 2010)
• Many of the problems that children from divorced homes
experience begin during the predivorce period, a time when
parents are often in active conflict with each other
• When children from divorced homes show problems, the problems
may be due not only to the divorce, but to the marital conflict that
led to it (Thompson, 2008)

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Divorced Families

– E. Mark Cummings and his colleagues (Cummings &


Davies, 2010; Cummings, El-Sheikh, & Kouros, 2009;
Cummings & Kouros, 2008; Cummings & Merrilees,
2009; Schermerhorn, Chow, & Cummings, 2010) have
proposed emotion security theory
• States that children appraise marital conflict in terms of their sense
of security and safety in the family
• A distinction is made between marital conflict that is negative for
children and marital conflict that can be positive for children

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Divorced Families

– Despite the emotional problems that some adolescents and


emerging adults from divorced families have, the weight
of the research evidence underscores that
• Most adolescents and emerging adults competently cope with their
parents’ divorce
• A majority of adolescents and emerging adults in divorce families
do not have significant adjustment problems (Ahrons, 2007;
Barber & Demo, 2006)

63
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Divorced Families

• Should parents stay together for the sake of the children


and adolescents?
– One of the most commonly asked questions about divorce
(Hetherington, 2005, 2006)
– If the stresses and disruptions in family relationships
associated with an unhappy, conflicted marriage that erode
the well-being of the children and adolescents are reduced
by the move to a divorced, single-parent family, divorce
might be advantageous (Yu & others, 2010)

64
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Divorced Families

• How much do family processes matter in divorced


families?
– In divorced families, family processes matter a great deal
(Hetherington, 2006; Lansford, 2009; Parke & Clarke-Stewart,
2011)
– When the divorced parents have a harmonious relationship and
use authoritative parenting, the adjustment of adolescents is
improved (Hetherington, 2006)
– Two longitudinal studies revealed that conflict (especially when
it is intense and prolonged) between divorced parents was
linked to emotional problems, insecure social relationships, and
antisocial behavior in adolescents (Hetherington, 2006)

65
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Divorced Families

• What factors are involved in the adolescent’s individual


risk vulnerability in a divorced family
– Adolescent’s adjustment prior to the divorce
– Personality and temperament
– Developmental status
– Custody
– Gender
– Relocation

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Divorced Families

• What role does socioeconomic status play in the lives of


adolescents in divorced families?
– On average, custodial mothers’ income decreases about 25
to 50% from their predivorce income, in comparison to a
decrease of only 10% for custodial fathers (Emery, 1999)
– The income decrease for divorced mothers is typically
accompanied by increased workloads, high rates of job
instability, and residential moves to less desirable
neighborhoods with inferior schools (Sayer, 2006)

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Stepfamilies

• Not only are parents divorcing more, they are also getting
remarried more (Ganong, Coleman, & Hans, 2006;
Hetherington, 2006; Marsiglio & Hinojosa, 2010)
• The number of remarriages involving children has grown
steadily in recent years
• Different types of stepfamilies are based on family
structure and relationships
– Common types of stepfamily structure:
• Stepfather
• Stepmother
• Blended or complex

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Stepfamilies

• As in divorced families, adolescents in stepfamilies have


more adjustment problems than their counterparts in
nondivorced families (Hetherington, 2006; Hetherington &
Kelly, 2002; Marsiglio & Hinojosa, 2010)
– Boundary ambiguity: The uncertainty in stepfamilies about
who is in or out of the family and who is performing or
responsible for certain tasks in the family system

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Stepfamilies

• There is an increase in adjustment problems of adolescents


in newly remarried families (Hetherington, 2006;
Hetherington & Clingempeel, 1992)
– Researchers have found that early adolescence is an
especially difficult time for the formation of a stepfamily
(Bray & Kelly, 1998; Hetherington & others, 1999)

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Working Parents

• Working parents and adolescents’ adjustment


– More than one of every two U.S. mothers with a child
under the age of 5 is in the labor force
• Maternal employment is a part of modern life, but its effects are
still debated
– Until recently, little attention has been given to the role of
parents’ work on adolescents (Crouter, 2006)
• Recent research indicates that what matters for adolescent
development is the nature of parents’ work rather than whether one
parent works outside the home (Han, 2009; Parke & Clarke-
Stewart, 2011)
• A consistent finding is the children (especially girls) of working
mothers engage in less gender stereotyping and have more
egalitarian views of gender (Goldberg & Lucas-Thompson, 2008) 71
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Working Parents

• Latchkey adolescents
– Latchkey adolescents typically do not see their parents
from the time they leave for school in the morning until
about 6:00 or 7:00 P.M.
• They are called “latchkey” because they carry a key to their home
and let themselves into the home while their parents are still at
work

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Working Parents

– Without limits and parental supervision, latchkey children


find their way into trouble more easily, possibly stealing,
vandalizing, or abusing a sibling
– Although latchkey adolescents can be vulnerable to
problems, keep in mind that the experiences of latchkey
adolescents vary enormously
• Variations in latchkey experiences suggest that parental
monitoring and authoritative parenting help the adolescent to cope
more effectively with latchkey experiences, especially in resisting
peer pressure (Galambos & Maggs, 1991; Steinberg, 1986)

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Adoption

• The increased diversity of adopted children and adoptive


parents
– In the first half of the 20th century, most U.S. adopted
children were healthy, non-Latino White infants
• As abortion became legal and contraception increased, U.S.
couples increasingly adopted a much wider diversity of children
(Brodzinsky & Pinderhughes, 2002)

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Adoption

– In the first half of the 20th century, most adoptive parents


were from non-Latino White middle or upper
socioeconomic status backgrounds who were married and
did not have any type of disability
• Many adoption agencies today have no income requirements for
adoptive parents and now allow adults from a wider range of
backgrounds to adopt children, including single adults, gay male
and lesbian adults, and older adults (Brodzinsky & Pinderhughes,
2002)

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Adoption

• Do these changes matter?


– Possible effects of changes in the characteristics of parents
on the outcomes for adolescents are still unknown
– The changes in adoption practice over the last several
decades make it difficult to generalize about the average
adopted adolescent or average adoptive parent

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Adoption

• Developmental outcomes for adopted and nonadopted


children
– Children and adolescents who are adopted early in their lives
are more likely to have positive outcomes than their
counterparts adopted later in life (Bernard & Dozier, 2008)
– In general, adopted children and adolescents are more likely
to experience psychological and school-related problems
than non-adopted children (Bernard & Dozier, 2008)
– Research has also found positive characteristics among the
adopted adolescents

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Adoption

– The vast majority of adopted children and adolescents adjust


effectively (Brodzinksy & Pinderhughes, 2002; Castle &
others, 2010)
– Adopted children and adolescents fare much better than
children and adolescents in long-term foster care or in an
institutional environment (Bernand & Dozier, 2008)

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Adoption

• Parenting adopted adolescents


– Many of the keys to effectively parenting adopted
adolescents are no different than those for effectively
parenting biological adolescents:
• Be supportive and caring
• Be involved and monitor the adolescent’s behavior and
whereabouts
• Be a good communicator
• Help the adolescent learn to develop self-control
– Parents of adopted adolescents do face some unique
circumstances, including recognizing the differences
involved in adoptive family life (Wolfgram, 2008)
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Gay and Lesbian Parents

• Increasingly, gay and lesbian couples are creating families


that include children and adolescents
• An important aspect of gay male and lesbian families with
adolescents is the sexual identity of parents at the time of a
child’s birth or adoption (Patterson, 2009)

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Gay and Lesbian Parents

• Gay and lesbians are increasingly choosing parenthood


through donor insemination or adoption
– Researchers have found that the children and adolescents
created through new reproductive technologies are as well
adjusted as their counterparts conceived by natural means
(Golombok, 2011a, 2011b; Golombok & Tasker, 2010)
• Researchers have found few differences in children and
adolescents growing up with gay fathers and lesbian
mothers and in children and adolescents growing up with
heterosexual parents (Patterson, 2009)

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Figure 8.6

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Culture and Ethnicity

• Cross-cultural comparisons
– Cultures vary on a number of issues involving families
(Cheah & Yeung, 2011; Hewlett & Macfarlan, 2010)
• In one study of parenting behavior in 186 cultures around the
world, the most common pattern was a warm and controlling style,
one that is neither permissive nor restrictive (Rohner & Rohner,
1981)
• In some countries, authoritarian parenting continues to be widely
practiced (Rothbaum & Trommsdorff, 2007)

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Culture and Ethnicity

– Cultural change is coming to many families around the


world (Cheah & Yeung, 2011; Chen & others, 2011)
• Greater family mobility; migration to urban areas; family members
working in distant cities or countries; smaller families; fewer
extended-family households; and increases in mothers’
employment (Brown & Larson, 2002)

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Culture and Ethnicity

• Ethnicity and parenting


– Ethnic minority families differ from non-Latino White
American families in their size, structure and composition,
reliance on kinship networks, and level of income and
education (Tamis-LeMonda & McFadden, 2010)
• Large and extended families are more common among ethnic
minority groups than among non-Latino White Americans
• Ethnic minority adolescents are more likely to come from low-
income families than non-Latino White adolescents (Brandon,
2009)
• Single-parent families are more common among African American
and Latinos from among non-Latino White Americans (Harris &
Graham, 2007)
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Culture and Ethnicity

• Ethnic minority parents, on average, are less well


educated
• A sense of family duty and obligation also varies across
ethnic groups (Fuligni, Hughes, & Way, 2009; van
Geel & Vedder, 2011)
• How ethnic minority families deal with stress depends
on many factors (Fuligni, Hughes, & Way, 2009; van
Geel & Vedder, 2011)

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Social Policy, Adolescents, and Families

• Competent adolescent development is most likely to


happen when adolescents have parents who:
– Show them warmth and respect
– Demonstrate sustained interest in their lives
– Recognize and adapt to their changing cognitive and
socioemotional development
– Communicate expectations for high standards of conduct and
achievement
– Display authoritative, constructive ways of dealing with
problems and conflict

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Social Policy, Adolescents, and Families

• Competent adolescent development is most likely to


happen when adolescents have parents who:
– Show them warmth and respect
– Demonstrate sustained interest in their lives
– Recognize and adapt to their changing cognitive and
socioemotional development
– Communicate expectations for high standards of conduct
and achievement
– Display authoritative, constructive ways of dealing with
problems and conflict

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Social Policy, Adolescents, and Families

• Compared with families with young children, families


with adolescents have been neglected in community
programs and public policies
• The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development
(1995) identified some key opportunities for improving
social policy:
– School, cultural arts, religious and youth organizations,
and health-care agencies should examine the extent to
which they involve parents in activities with adolescents
and should develop ways to engage parents and
adolescents in activities they both enjoy

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Social Policy, Adolescents, and Families

– Professionals such as teachers, psychologists, nurses,


physicians, youth specialists, and others who have contact
with adolescents need not only to work with the individual
adolescent but also to increase the time they spend
interacting with the adolescent’s family
– Employers should extend to the parents of young
adolescents the workplace policies now reserved only for
the parents of young children.
– Community institutions such as businesses, schools, and
youth organizations should become more involved in
providing after-school programs

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E-LEARNING TOOLS

To help you master the material in this chapter,


visit the Online Learning Center for
Adolescence, 14th edition at:

http://www.mhhe.com/santrocka14e

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