What Causes Conflict Between Adolescents and Their Parents

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Conflicts in the family are usually considered as an undesirable symptom of a problem that need to be solved by family members. 1 In the family relationships, the parent-adolescent relationship represents an involuntary association, an imbalance of power and resources, and an obligation for the parent to function as caregiver. 2

While the presenting

problem with most families is obviously parent-adolescent conflict. Adolescence is a period of increasing parent-child conflict and conflicts are thought to be rife and common during this development phase. 3 In the puberty, Parents have the totally different interpretations of the conflicts against adolescents. Parents notice the disagreements caused from morality, personal safety and conformity concerns while adolescents consider them as personal choice.4 This piece of work deals with the question what causes conflict adolescents and their parents. In the first part various issues causing the conflicts in families are introduced. Building upon this, the next chapter concentrates on the analysing the reasons. And a final conclusion of the piece of work is given in the third part.

1. Cf. Samuel Vuchinich (1999) : p.79 2. Daniel J. Canary,William R. Cupach,Susan J. Messman (1995) : p.52 3. Cf. Lynn H. Turner,Richard L. West (2006) : quoted according to Riesch, Jackson, & Chanchong, (2003) : p.150. 4. Cf. Lynn H. Turner,Richard L. West (2006) : quoted according to Smetana (1989) : p.150.


Occurrence and Issues of Conflict
Owing to that family members share the communal resources and so much time, conflicts are normative and inevitable.5 As the expressive form, usually family conflicts between parents and adolescents will behaved in a variety of ways like whining, complaining, yelling, crying to arguing, screaming and swearing, which ranged from giving up halfway during the chores to quarrelling and even fighting.6 Those activities are undesirable in family harmony, everyone wants to live in a warm and so what should be done is to search for the reasons and then analyse them. The disagreements and conflicts between parents and teenagers can be numerous and diverse. Difficulties associated with marital conflict or personal problem of individual family members lead to variable conflicts. 7 Ten main content categories which lead to conflicts were concluded and defined in Table 1 and the percent frequency of each part is given by Table 2.8 (Tables are given in the Appendix) From these tables one can easily get the conclusion that doing chores, interpersonal relations, regulating activities and personality characteristics lead to conflicts the most frequently, accounting for 18%, 17%, 12% and 12% respectively. In addition, another research indicated that conflicts about chores and interpersonal relationships were more difficult to resolve than those about personal style.9

5. Cf. Chris Segrin,Jeanne Flora (2005): quoted according to Sillarset al (2004) :p.88 6.Cf. Russell A. Barkley, Christine M. Benton (1998) :p.10. 7 Cf. Arthur L. Robin,Sharon L. Foster (2003) : p.227 8.Megan R. Gunnar,W.Andrew Collins(1988) :p.95. 9.Cf. Lynn H. Turner,Richard L. West (2006) : quoted according to Smetana, Yau, & Hanson, (1991) : p.151


On the other hand, parents pay much more attention to adolescents` behavioral style, whereas the adolescents considered the restrictions on their interpersonal relationship as the chief issue leading to the conflicts. 10

Analysis the Reason
The different values between parents and adolescents actually exist regarding to the tiny issues as discussed above and the differences always cause the disagreements.11 During the adolescence, many adolescents refuse to accept the values and standpoints emerged by their parents. Disagreements related to different values finally develop into intense conflicts when both the two sides can not tolerate the other`s behaviour any more.12 Recently, more attempts have been tried to explain the...
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