Parent Child Connectedness

Topics: Sociology, Developmental psychology, Adolescence Pages: 20 (4919 words) Published: June 26, 2013
Chapter I

INTRODUCTION

Parents send their children to schools in the hopes of having them acquire hard skills such as knowledge about the world, logic, and comprehension. However, at present, the focus of parents, along with other concerned institutions such as the school and the workforce, have extended to also consider the "soft skills" of the individual. These are the abilities to evaluate, communicate, and adapt effectively to the social environment collectively known as social competence (West, 1996). One manifestation of social competence, particularly in adolescents, is being accepted within the peer group, or acquiring a desired peer group status (East, 1991). Perhaps no other stage in human development puts emphasis on peer status as much as in adolescence, as peer groups become the center of the adolescents' concerns and activities (Barrocas, n.d.). A major task of the adolescent is to be well-adjusted and skillful at meeting the norms within their peer groups (Santrock, 2001). For parents, the challenge may also increase as their children grow from childhood to adolescence. Unlike infants and young children, adolescents are exposed to physical and emotional changes in themselves, as well as social situations outside their homes that may challenge their bond with parents (Bean, Lezin, Rolleri, & Taylor, 2004). The unique bond, the sense of security or the attachment between the parent and the child, appeals to families and the researchers alike as it has implications on family life, adolescent interactions and potential development or adaptation of interventions in psychology. This quality of mutual bond between the parent and the child can be summed as parent-child connectedness or PCC (Bean, Lezin, Rolleri, & Taylor, 2004). It is in this study that links of group status and parent-child relationships are discussed. Of particular interest is the parent-child connection in early adolescence, a period of emotional, physical, and social changes in the child, and its relations to the adolescent's status in the peer group.

Background of the Study

As early as 1969, the idea that a child's first attachment greatly impacts the shaping of many areas in development was introduced by Bowlby (Bean, Lezin, Rolleri, & Taylor, 2004). The introduction of the attachment theory made way for several studies to pursue and examine parent-child relationships throughout the lifespan. The theory of attachment is at the root of the current concept of parent-child connectedness, in which there is a mutual attachment or bond between the parent and the child. It is in the adolescence stage that patterns of attachment are found to shift greatly from parents to peers (Barrocas, 2008). The peer group gradually becomes the focus of the adolescent's social world in his or her search for autonomy (Nickerson & Nagle, 2005, cited in Barrocas, n.d.). In effect, adolescents may become more concerned about being accepted in their respective peer groups. Popularity among adolescents, more than any peer status, represents acceptance within a peer group as popular adolescents are frequently nominated as a best friend and are rarely disliked by their peers (East, 1991). Other group statuses distinguished in a study conducted by East (1991) include amiable or acceptable, isolated or neglected, rejected, and controversial. Although the shift of focus from parents to peers is evident in adolescence, parents are still present in the daily lives of the adolescent. Rooting back to the theory of attachment, it is possible that the connection between the parent and the child may even be predictive of the child's social functioning within his or her peer group. Thus, it is the interest of this study to find the relations of parent-child connectedness to the adolescent's peer group status.

Review of Related Literature

In the field of social psychology much...

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