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Most Parents are Obstacles to Teens’ Independence: Survey

In contrast, one quarter of the parents admitted that their role in impeding their teen’s independence, saying it’s quicker and less hassle to do things themselves (19 per cent) or they don’t think about how to give teens more responsibility (7 per cent)

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By Bharat Upadhyay 

Parents, please take note. A new survey shows that parents are often the obstacle in teenagers becoming self-sufficient.

“Our study suggests parents aren’t letting go of the reins as often as they should to help teens make that transition. This process of transition from childhood to adulthood includes everything, from preparing for work and financial responsibility to taking care of one’s health and well-being,” said Sarah Clark from the University of Michigan, the UK.

According to Bhagat Rajput, consultant, psychiatry, Manipal Hospital in Delhi, independence is essential for children’s growth, but mostly it’s the generation gap between the children and the parents that acts as a barrier.

“This gap is visible because each of them grows up in two separate historical time and culture, impacting the views, value and tastes. The barrier can be minimised with parents acting as guides to adolescents and increasing communication and understanding in the relationship,” Rajput told IANS.

Struggling for personal independence, 23-year-old Delhi-based Muskan, said: “Parents putting barriers at every step harms more than it helps. This is the time when we are trying to build our own identity and want to make our own mistakes. Parents think they’re advising or helping us, but too much interference only makes us rebel.”

The researchers recommend parents to position themselves as a backup resource, to be consulted only if the teen can’t handle the issue independently.

Parents
There was a similar, although not quite as dramatic, increase in the risk of best friendship dissolution for children with psychologically controlling parents. pixabay

Parents should also establish specific milestones and create opportunities to mentor their teens in gaining experience and confidence while reaching those goals, they said.

According to researchers, one quarter of the parents surveyed admit they are the main barrier to their teen’s independence as they don’t take the time or make effort to give them more responsibility.

The report was based on responses of 877 parents from the UK with at least one child aged 14-18 years.

Researchers also stated that 60 per cent of the respondents said their teens’ characteristics were barriers to becoming independent, such as not being mature enough (24 per cent), not having time (22 per cent) or not knowing enough (14 per cent) to take more responsibility.

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In contrast, one quarter of the parents admitted that their role in impeding their teen’s independence, saying it’s quicker and less hassle to do things themselves (19 per cent) or they don’t think about how to give teens more responsibility (7 per cent).

“Parenting is about learning to care and control in the right measure. Autonomy for young people is important for development of their identity. But autonomy has to be within a safety framework,” Achal Bhagat, senior consultant, psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, told IANS. (IANS)

Next Story

Doctors can Help Parents and Teens Communicate about Sex

The randomised clinical study from the University of Pennsylvania in the US evaluated whether interventions targeted at parents

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Doctors, Parents, Teenagers
Parents and teenagers often find it difficult to talk about sex and alcohol, but a new study suggests that doctors can help. Pixabay

Parents and teenagers often find it difficult to talk about sex and alcohol, but a new study suggests that doctors can help.

Results published in the journal JAMA Network Open suggest that doctors have an opportunity to help parents and teens communicate about sex and alcohol in ways that will help young people make healthier choices about sexual behaviours and alcohol use.

The randomised clinical study from the University of Pennsylvania in the US evaluated whether interventions targeted at parents in primary care pediatric settings might improve communications between parents and their teenagers about sexual health and alcohol use.

According to the researchers, the study included 118 parents-adolescent pairs, with 38 pairs in a sexual health intervention, 40 pairs in an alcohol prevention intervention, and 40 pairs in a control group for comparison who received usual care.

Doctors, Parents, Teenagers
Results published in the journal JAMA Network Open suggest that doctors have an opportunity to help parents and teens communicate about sex and alcohol in ways that will help young people make healthier choices. Pixabay

‘The interventions were selected because in previous research, they have been shown to encourage teens to wait until they are older to have sex, use protection if they do have sex and reduce alcohol use.

Parents in the interventions received coaching on key messages regarding sexual health and alcohol and were encouraged to engage in parent-adolescent communication about it within two weeks, at which time there was a follow-up call to parents from health coaches.

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Participants were surveyed four months later and the researchers reported an increased frequency of parent-teen communications about sexual health and alcohol use in the intervention groups compared to the control group. (IANS)