“Is There Something I Should Know?”:
Topic Avoidant Responses in Parent-Adolescent Communication
by Michelle A. Mazur and Amy S. Ebesu Hubbard
Teenagers, teens, young adults - these terms are commonly used by many to refer to us, adolescents. We independently go through a shift from childhood to adulthood (adolescence). In this developmental stage of adolescence, we experience dramatic changes in our physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects. As we reach the stage of late-adolescence, which occurs from ages 18 to 22, we become increasingly focused on the formation of our identities. At this point, almost all of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are driven by the exploration of various personal identities in pursuit of discovering who we really are so as to be able to define a sense of individuality among ourselves. For this reason, we tend to conceal or avoid discussing our identities with our parents out of fear of being disagreed with. We begin to confide less in our parents, thus making the communication between us gradually diminished. In my honest opinion, communication with parents is extremely important given that we are in a transitional stage and vulnerable to external influences. Parents are much more experienced than we. However, we seldom pay attention to this fact and assert that they lived in a completely different time compared to the present. We often get irritated when our parents try to reach out by opening conversations about important issues. We used to get the wrong idea and think that parents only attempt to invade our privacy. I agree that as adolescents we usually avoid conversing about topics such as negative life experiences, dating experiences, sexual experiences, friendships, and dangerous activities (Afifi and Guerrero). As we struggle to maintain privacy, we keep personal information and control the access to it by constructing our own boundaries. Otherwise if parents insist that we disclose information we consider as...
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