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Role Of Family In Adolescent Development

2304 words - 9 pages

Adolescence is a significant developmental period for teenagers because of the adaptations they are forced to comply with including physical, emotional, cognitive, and social changes. Adolescents are given various developmental tasks that are often difficult to perform while they are facing stressors such as these changes. One task involves finding one’s self or identity. The adolescent’s identity is a construction of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history (Marcia, 1980). In addition to searching for personal identity, it is important for the adolescent to establish autonomy within his/her social context. As their peer interactions change, their family relationships do as well. However, the family context is very important in regard to adolescent development. The relationship quality between adolescents and their families greatly influence their self-esteem, ability to adjust, and relationships with others. Conversely, the relationship quality between adolescents and their families is often influenced by the number, birth order, and age spacing of siblings within the family. It is crucial that families grasp an understanding of this developmental period to help adolescents adjust through these various changes. This poses the question: What role does family play in adolescent development?
It is important to consider the environment in which an adolescent is raised. Parenting styles assist in explaining adolescent behavior. If an adolescent is raised in a safe and secure environment with parents that exhibit authoritative characteristics fostering an open and warm atmosphere, the adolescents are more psychosocially mature and competent (Yeh, 2003). These types of parents balance two very important tasks; they help to promote and encourage autonomy while setting appropriate limits (DeHart, 2004). Because of the emotional support communicated by parents in these households, these adolescents are able to effectively handle difficult situations or events (Yeh, 2003). On the other hand, adolescents that are raised in households with parents that are unresponsive and inflexible, have a tendency to develop feelings of frustration and apprehension.
Siblings within the family context can also have a critical impact on the adolescent, influencing both their ability to adjust and promote social maturity. Having close and strong bonds with siblings can help adolescents feel emotionally secure, especially in distraught situations. Also, if the adolescent and sibling share a healthy relationship, the adolescent will demonstrate higher self-esteem, social competence, self-control and independence (Yeh, 2003). On the other hand, having a relationship where the sibling is indifferent and less personal guides the adolescent to become more anti-social and exhibit aggressive behavior. Adolescents often reside in their relationships with siblings rather than peers or parents to find emotional support because they feel that siblings are more available...

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