Adolescence is a significant developmental period for teenagers because of the adaptations they are forced to follow including cognitive, emotional, social, and physical changes. Adolescents are given various developmental tasks that are often difficult to perform while they are facing other stress that may include some of those. One task involves the adolescent in finding their true self or who they really are. Essentially, they are in search of their identity.
The adolescent’s identity is a construction of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history (Sawhill). One of these ways they try to search or find their identity is through parents and their form of parenting styles. Along with parenting, peer interactions change, and so does their family relationships as well. That is why the parental role is the most important role in the development of an adolescent.However, the family context is very important according to studies that show, “during the ages 10 through 14 children undergo many children undergo many physical, emotional and mental changes. Together these changes can throw the lives of young teens and their parents off-balance. Major problems may arise, particularly among children who are already at risk of school failure.” (U.
S Dept of Education). Therefore, one of the issues that come along with poor parenting can lead to to poor moral principles embellished within the child. Essentially, the importance of parenting plays a prominent role in how an adolescent develops into a good, kind, human being. This goes along with what Aristotle believes as well. He incorporates, the concept of the ‘human good’. In its simplest terms, the idea of the human good means that there are certain ways of being that are better for humans than other ways.
For Aristotle, especially, the human good means that there is such a thing as a human nature. To achieve the human good is to flourish as a human being, and this can only be done when one lives in accordance with one’s human nature. Having a stable household, and living in a home with love essentially will result in “human good”. Therefore, if a parent is able to comply and provide this to an adolescent they are more than likely to become part of that human good. Aristotle thought that man’s nature was defined by his ability to be rational, and this rational ability enabled man to be moral. So, living in accordance with human nature means, among other things, to develop one’s capacity to reason about, and to understand, what is right and what is wrong. Essentially, he is saying that do to being able to live in a loving home with parents involved will also lead to good moral principles. 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). Although, having a relationship where the sibling is indifferent and less personal guides the adolescent to become more antisocial 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 and dependable (Yeh). Because it is significant for the adolescent to become autonomous and break off from the dependence they once had on their parents, siblings can act as a support system in order to keep the adolescent connected within the family. It is important to not only focus on the present sibling relationships, but past sibling relationships as well.
In the Stages of Moral Development, Lawrence Kohlberg states “that human beings progress from a Preconventional Level of moral development, in which they refer to rules imposed by others, further develop to a Postconventional Level of moral development, in which they refer to rules imposed from within themselves. Just as Kohlberg states, adolescents undergo moral growth in stages. They may be easily influenced by peers or by environmental cues, but most teens grow to assert impressive measures of responsibility. Therefore, this is essentially stating that the parents play an impact as being very easily influential towards their children. Essentially, it is important for a parent to be aware of what goes on around their child in order to create a hostile environment so that the adolescent does not develop unwanted characteristics. Research on the family as one supportive context for adolescent development has been growing rapidly. Its theoretical framework rests upon Baumrind’s studies of parenting styles, in which she identified two important dimensions of parental behavior, each of which is predictive of a particular constellation of child characteristics.
First is parental warmth or responsiveness. Responsive parents seem to encourage their children’s self-acceptance, confidence, and assertiveness by being warm, involved, and accepting of their children’s needs and feelings. They take their children’s feelings and expressed needs seriously and are willing to explain their own actions, particularly when they impose limits on the child. The second dimension is parental control or demandingness.
Demanding parents apparently foster self-discipline and achievement by making maturity demands on their children. They make and enforce rules, provide consistent supervision or parental monitoring, and confront their children when their behavior does not measure up. According to a large body of research by Baumrind and others, the most effective parenting style, authoritative parenting, combines high responsiveness and high demandingness. It is as if the key to parenting effectiveness is to blend the listening skills and empathy of a well-trained counselor with the firmness of a watchful vice-principal for discipline. Treating responsiveness and demandingness as two distinct dimensions, three other categories of parenting style can be derived.
Besides authoritative, there are authoritarian, permissive also called indulgent, and neglecting, also called uninvolved or dismissive styles (Maccoby & Martin). Authoritarian parents are low on responsiveness but high on demandingness. Permissive parents are high on responsiveness but low on demandingness, and neglecting or dismissive parents are essentially disengaged, scoring low on both dimensions. Baumrind assessed the behavior of parents and their young adolescents and found that “authoritative parents put out exceptional effort and their adolescents were exceptionally competent mature, prosocial, high internal locus of control, low internalizing and externalizing problem behavior, low substance use In the large-scale study of 14- to 18-year-olds by Steinberg and his colleagues, parenting style was linked to four aspects of teens’ adjustment: psychosocial development, school achievement, internalized distress, and problem behavior. The children of authoritative parents scored best on the majority of these indicators, and those of neglectful parents scored worst (Sawhill).
After 1 year, the adolescents’ adjustment status was reassessed. Parenting style was predictive of patterns of change over the year. For example, adolescents from authoritative homes showed increases in self-reliance, whereas other adolescents showed little change or, if they had neglectful parents, actually declined somewhat. Another important issue that parents need to play an important role is in premarital sex.
There are many forms that the parent must comprehend it is their duty to prevent it and educate their adolescent. Parents need to understand that adolescents are easily influenced by others around them, especially when they are in high school. Although, new evidence suggests that parents’ behavior and attitudes can be the most important factors in determining whether their kids have sex or become pregnant. Some of the findings concluded that: teens who are close to their parents are more likely to remain abstinent, have fewer sexual partners and use contraceptives when they do become sexually active.
Also, teens whose parents closely supervise them are more likely to be older when they first have sex and have fewer partners. Lastly, teens whose parents hold strong opinions about the value of abstinence or about the dangers of unprotected intercourse are at less risk of becoming pregnant. Therefore, one of the forms that parents can help in this matter are by educating themselves in this concept and therefore passing their wisdom onto their children.
Giving an adolescent less independence or freedom can be a good result of having less issues with premarital sex. Overall, parents must identify the forms in which to comply with their duties to educate their children in a fortifying way to ensure prevention of premarital sex.Lastly, communication is one of the most important roles that parents need in order to build a relationship with their children. Without a clear bond, a child will refrain from communicating with their parents and withhold emotions in a unhealthy way. From personal experiences, having a lack of bond or connection with parents results in neglect and depression. Therefore, it is essential to be able to communicate with an adolescent as much as possible.Overall, I plan to apply this knowledge in the future when I become a parent or even with my future job with my students.
I have to be able to build strong relationships with adolescents because it allows them to relieve or express their emotions in a healthy way. Furthermore, I believe that this will ensure that I make the development for my child a lot easier. I realized throughout the research that I need to be able incorporate all these ideas in order to ease my way into parenting during the adolescent years and know that I am doing the rights as I develop a morally, confident, and educated individual. I plan to incorporate this into a basic set of rules for my child in the future. Rules are essential to create order within a household, therefore I need to be able to communicate with the adolescent.
Overall, my main usage of this knowledge will be when I become a parent and incorporate all this research into how I parent my child.