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Quality parenting during adolescence lays the foundation for close parent-child relationships as children become young adults, according to new research from Penn State.

The study is one of the first to study how changes in parental involvementparental warmth and effective discipline during adolescence predict the quality of relationships between parents and their young adult children, said Greg Fosca, professor of human development and family study and associate director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center at Penn State, who was one of the principal investigators on the study.

The results of the study were published recently in Developmental psychology. The research team interviewed 1,631 participants in a longitudinal study of families in rural and semi-rural areas of Pennsylvania and Iowa who were surveyed between sixth and 12th grade and again at age 22.

“Our research has shown that parenting can make a big difference over time teenage years: parents often show less warmth and affection, spend less time with their teenagers, and become harsher in their discipline. “Parents who were able to support positive parenting and involvement laid the foundation for close relationships as their teenagers became adults,” Fosca said.

Being involved in teens’ lives can look different than when they were younger, and staying close to teens can be challenging as they strive for more independence and autonomy, Fosca acknowledged. Based on the results of the study, he proposed the following measures:

  • Do something together, like exercise, bike, exercise, go for a walk, play a game, cook, attend an event, or get together for a meal or dessert.
  • Work on the project together around the house.
  • Talk about what’s happening at school.
  • Discuss what you want to do in the future.

Also, teens who experienced higher levels of parental warmth in early adolescence reported feeling more closeness and warmth with their mothers and fathers when they were in their 20s, Fosca said.

“It’s a great reminder to say the important things in life, like ‘I love you’ or ‘I care about you,’ or physical expressions like a hug or a pat on the back,” he said.

The study also found that parents who knew how to use effective discipline with their children by sixth grade — and maintained those effective practices throughout adolescence — had less conflictual relationships when their children were in their 20s.

“Parents should avoid harsh consequences and yelling at their teenagers, and work to remain calm and consistent in enforcing family rules,” said Shichen Fang, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University and a former postdoctoral fellow at the Edna Bennett Pierce Center for Prevention Research. . “Teens want to feel respected and treated like adults. It’s important to have clear reasons for family rules and consequences.”

When appropriate, it’s helpful to include teens in the decision-making process about family rules, such as discussing a reasonable curfew, Fosca added.

“If parents can include their teens in these decisions, they’re more likely to agree with what’s made,” Fosca said.

Data for the study from Advancing School, Community and University Partnerships for Resilience (PROSPER)and the research was funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Fang is the lead author of the published paper on the findings. Mark Feinberg, Research Professor of Health and human development at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, served as the study’s co-principal investigator.


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Additional information:
Shichen Fang et al. Multivariate growth trajectories of adolescent parenting practices that predict young adults’ relationships with their parents. Developmental psychology (2022). DOI: 10.1037/dev0001443

Citation: Teenage Parenting Practices Set the Stage for Closeness, Warmth Later (2022, October 5) Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-parenting-teen-years-stage- warmth. html

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