The True Nature of Adolescent-Parent Relationships: Conflict and Harmony

Christopher Daddis
Department of Psychology
The Ohio State University

7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Most parents believe that rebellion and emotional distance between teenagers and parents are normal and inevitable features of the transition from childhood to adolescence. Over the past 30 years, however, psychological research has rejected such a "storm and stress" stereotype and has documented a vastly different picture of adolescent-parent relationships. Scientific studies consistently indicate that the overwhelming majority of adolescents and parents enjoy warm, respectful relationships with each other. Although the frequency of everyday conflict increases during early adolescence, it is certainly not evidence of rebellion or rejection of parental values.

Dr. Daddis will present research demonstrating that everyday conflict is a normal and useful aspect of adolescent autonomy development, acting as an arena wherein adolescents and parents negotiate the boundaries of personal and parental authority. Additionally, Dr. Daddis will discuss alternate routes to autonomous behavior in the context of recent research on adolescent disclosure and secrecy regarding romantic involvement.

Here is an audio recording of this science cafe in mp3 format.