Causes of conflict between adolescents and their parents
Read the statements. Which one do you think is more likely to be true? Give reasons for your opinions.
Parents and adolescents argue mainly over everyday matters, and these arguments seem to change very little from generation to generation.
Parents and adolescents have always argued over small things, but these days these arguments are becoming more serious
Read the texts.
Causes of conflict between adolescents and their parents
Some interesting discoveries have been made by psychologists studying conflicts between adolescents and their parents. One notable feature is that they seldom argue about such major topics as sex, drugs, or politics. This is surprising, that great differences often exist between the attitudes of parents and adolescents on such issues. Researchers suggest the explanation may be that such topics do not usually relate to day-to-day family interaction and are not discussed as they are not directly relevant to family life. Instead, parents and children tend to fall out over everyday family matters such as housework.
Despite the changes that have taken place over the past fifty years, adolescents appear to have the same kinds of arguments with their parents as the parents had when they themselves were young. It seems to come around to the conflict between the adolescent's desire for independence from the parents' authority. Teenagers spoke of their right to be free of restrictions, while parents were equally sure of their right to exert control, backing this up by referring to the needs of the family as a whole. Interestingly, both groups could see the other's point of view even though they disagreed with it.
What do parents and teenagers fight about?
The argument arises out of clash of roles. Teenagers want to gain greater independence, more freedom. Young people and their parents have different views on when the children should be allowed to do things alone: go shopping, choose what to wear and eat, what time to come home, with whom to go out, etc.
Researchers have found that most disputes between parents and teenagers are not very heated and are typically about issues, such as:
fighting with brothers and sisters,
cleaning up bedroom,
their own space,
helping out around the house,
time to come home,
friends and responsibilities.
Issues that tend to generate more heat, but occur less frequently, include:
talking back to parents,
getting poor results at school,
getting in trouble at school.
Parent – child interaction
Sociologists believe parent – child conflicts cannot be avoided in a society that is undergoing rapid change. In our society youngsters are at odds with their parents on a wide range of issues, from how late can stay up to whom they should marry. This “generation gap” was especially wide during the 1960s, when college students lashed out, sometimes violently, at the values of career success and suburban ease of the over-30 generation.
Despite the expectation of conflict between generations, the most striking feature of several recent studies is the high level of agreement between children and their parents. One study showed, for example, that college-age children largely agree with their fathers on such issues as sexual norms, environmental protection, campus unrest, war, and segregation. Young men tend to disagree their fathers more than young women do. College students who have spent a longer time in school are more likely to disagree with their fathers. Disagreement also is more likely between working-class fathers and their college-age offspring. Fathers with advanced degrees or conservative views tend to disagree with their children on political and moral issues. Overall, however, agreement is much more common than disagreement.
Bowerman and Bahr surveyed 18,664 adolescents to get a better understanding of these surprising results. They found that adolescents who are raised in families in which parents have equal influence tend to adopt their parents' values, ideas, and opinions. This does not occur in families in which power is vested mainly in one parent, especially if that parent is the mother.
Discuss the questions:
Do you think the text is right about what causes arguments between children and parents nowadays? How true are these issues to you?
Do you think your parents had similar arguments when they were young?
What do you think can help parents and children to have a close relationship?
In what ways is your relationship with your grandparents similar to or different from your relationship with your parents?
Now prepare a talk on the causes of conflict between adolescents and their parents. Use the following plan:
education and careers.
To give you some ideas for the talk:
What problems do you think are caused by people of different ages living together? (living style, music, etc.)
In what ways do you think the attitudes change as you get older? (tolerance, priorities, etc.)
In what ways can money cause arguments between parents and children?
Do you think young people have a sense of the importance of money?
Do you think that parents and children have different attitudes to school and homework? (think how children like to spend their time)
How important is academic success to children?
Read the text and answer the questions below.
"Why can't our kids just get along? Why must they always fight?" Parents get tired of the bickering, teasing, competing. They can't understand why their children can't leave each other alone, and just be friends. "Who needs it?" parents ask.
The answer is "the children do." Fighting is not a sign of children not getting along. It is how they get along - using conflict to test their power, establish differences, and ventilate emotion. Children compete for dominance, parental attention, parental support, and household resources. Who gets what? Who does what? Who goes first? Who gets most? Who's right? Who's best?
When we are children, our brothers and sisters – are our first friends and first enemies. The effect of sibling relationships in childhood can last a lifetime. Many experts say that the relationship among brothers and sisters explains a great deal about family life, especially today when brothers and sisters often spend more time with one another than with their parents.
Studies have shown that sibling relationships between sister-sister pairs and brother-brother pairs are different. Sister pairs are the closest. Brothers are the most competitive. Sisters are usually more supportive of each other. They are more talkative, frank, and better at expressing themselves and sharing their feelings. On the other hand, brothers are usually more competitive with each other. The major exception to this is identical twins for whom similarity creates an unusual intimacy. The more alike they are, the closer they feel. The closer they feel, the more alike they want to become. They can feel incomplete in absence from each other, they can have unspoken means of knowing what is going on in each other, and they may even construct a secret language between them that no one else understands.
Experts agree that the relationship among siblings is influenced by many factors. For example, studies have shown that both brothers and sisters become more competitive and aggressive when their parents treat them even a little bit differently from one another. But parental treatment is not the only factor. Genetics, gender, life events, people, and experiences outside the family all shape the lives of siblings.
True or false?Parents get tired of siblings argument.
Parents quite understand their children.
Parents want their children to leave them alone.
Children fight for dominance and parent's attention.
Fighting means that children cannot get along.
Siblings are our oldest friends in life.
Some siblings have good relationships, but other siblings have bad relationships.
Sibling relationships are among the most important relationships in life.
Sisters get along better with their sisters than with their brothers.
Females and males generally have different sibling relationships.
Siblings spend a lot of time together because they have to.
There are many causes of good and bad sibling relationships.
Research has shown that siblings hate to fight.
When parents treat each child a little differently, the children get along better.
Why do siblings fight? Is there any difference between sisters and brothers? Who develop competitiveness? Who develop a close relationship? What should and shouldn’t parents do in order to prevent aggression between siblings?