One of the main tasks for adolescents and teenagers is to develop their personal identity and deepen their relationships with their friends, while also maintaining a strong connection to their families. Teenagers spend more time away from their parents and look to their friends for cues on how to pull on. However, parents continue to have a strong influence, especially upon their children's beliefs, values, and plans for the future.
Adolescence is often a time of increased conflict between children and their parents, especially their mothers. This might be because teenagers spend more time with their mothers than their fathers, or because mothers tend to take issue with aspects of behavior that touch on teenagers' sense of personal identity.
Although teenagers rely more upon their mothers for emotional support, the relationship with fathers continues to be important. Teenagers rely more upon their fathers for conversation and advice. Adolescents who felt their fathers were 'available' to them had fewer conflicts with their friends.
Unfortunately, some fathers seem to withdraw from their teenagers. Whether this is due to his concern for instilling independence in his children, or due to changes and stresses he is experiencing in his own life, a reduction in a father's availability and guidance during his children's adolescence can have bad consequences. This is especially the case for daughters. Teenage girls find it easier to talk to their mothers, which can make fathers feel as if they are not needed. However, this is not the case. Teenage girls may find self-esteem in their relationships with mothers, but they find guidance about how to relate to others and how to plan for the future from their fathers.