When teenagers begin to gain independence with every year they grow older and into their twenties, new conflicts arise with parents. As the adolescent gets older, parents often become confused of their role and adolescents lash out at their parents in rebellion.
According to Relationships with Parents, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well Being in Adulthood, Robert E. L. Roberts and Vern L. Bengston, Identity Theory is a way to explain how an individual’s view of one’s self is determined by the world around them.
The way others treat a young person is the way that person will come to view his or herself.
According to The Effects of Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Parental Separation on Adolescent Well-Being, by Tami M. Videon, “A substantial literature suggests that parent-child relations constitute important influences on children’s well-being, and may explain poorer outcomes for children living in single-parent homes.”
According to Relationships with Parents, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well Being in Adulthood, studies show that a lack of close parent/child relationship during the early years of life affects a child’s well being negatively, but few studies show the same for an individual in early adulthood.
This could be related to the fact that young adults begin to rely more heavily on friends and significant others for emotional support.
According to Relationships with Parents, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well Being in Adulthood, “we possess some evidence that young women still may value primary relationships more strongly where as young men value achievement-oriented activities.” (Richards and Larsen 1989; Shanahan et al. 1991)
This evidence suggests that females may be attached more closely to parental relationships than males.
According to Seperation Anxiety in Parents of Adolescents: Theoretical Significance and Scale Development by Ellen Hock, Mary Eberly, Suzanne Bartle-Haring, Pamela Ellwanger, and Keith F. Widaman, “Society places expectations on both adolescents and their parents for increasing adolescent self-reliance and autonomy from parents; separation of adolescents from their parents is imminent and represents a major life transition.”
Although there is a vast amount of research done on separation anxiety of parents from their children, there is not much research done on separation anxiety of parents from their adolescents.
Parents and adolescents experience different feelings and frustrations while going through a detachment phase from relying on parents to no longer needing to rely on them. Some of these feelings include:
According to Separation Anxiety in Parents of Adolescents: Theoretical Significance and Scale Development
“… Parents’ average level of anxiety about adolescent distancing may not significantly decrease until after adolescents move out of the home. The parents of college seniors reported significantly lower scores on this attribute [stress level] than did the parents of younger adolescents; even parents of college freshmen reported relatively high levels of anxiety about adolescent distancing.”
This suggests that time of getting used to the adolescent being an adult and being on his or her own is the best way to help parents feel less anxiety about the distancing of their adolescent.
It should be noted that these studies were done in middle class homes, and findings may differ in other socioeconomic situations. Areas of higher crime rates could contribute to a higher level of anxiety of parents with independent adolescents.
The relationships among children and their parents from infancy to adult hood remain an important relationship to have.
In childhood, the relationship one has with his or her parents can shape one’s own self identity and feelings of “Who I Am”.
As the child reaches young adulthood, struggles and frustrations may be faced with confusion of parental roles and a struggle of the adolescent for independence.
Studies suggest that parental anxiety does not significantly decrease until adolescent has been moved out of the home, and time has passed for both parties to become accustomed to this new phase of life.