Social Awkwardness and Inappropriate Self Disclosure Within Ones Family

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For many Americans, getting together with your family at Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to catch up with relatives you may not see often and relax. However, if you've ever wanted to run away from the Thanksgiving dinner table while covering your ears and screaming, you're familiar with how social awkwardness can effect family situations. Whether it's about your parent's ‘personal' lives or how your grandparents accidentally discovered a nude beach and joined in on the fun, some things just aren't appropriate to be shared with the family. In fact, many youth commonly use the phrase "too much information" to convey their feeling of discomfort.

This act of disclosure or non-disclosure is also an important matter in the way adolescents deal with their parents. Teenagers and parents have always walked a fine line as to what topics can be discussed, not to mention that teens may lie or neglect to tell the entire truth when talking to their parents. More importantly, one of the only ways for parents to learn about what the child does is though such disclosure, since adolescents spend so much time out of the house and away from their family. A recent study (Darling, 2006) questioned consenting adolescents through various interviews and questionnaires about what they disclose and what they do not disclose to their parents. One finding of Darling's study showed that adolescents disclose information that will cause praise, but not disclose things that could cause disagreement (2006). Another conclusion Darling (2006) came up with in the same study said that "The most common reason for disclosure was that adolescents were motivated by feelings of obligation…" (p. 676), showing that children from authoritative homes are more likely to disclose personal information.

One limitation of Darling's study was that it only addressed the disclosure of the child in a family situation and did not focus on the amount of disclosure of the family as a whole. By studying an...
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