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Role of Family in Adolescent Development

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Adolescence is a significant developmental period for teenagers because of the adaptations they are forced to comply with including physical, emotional, cognitive, and social changes. Adolescents are given various developmental tasks that are often difficult to perform while they are facing stressors such as these changes. One task involves finding one’s self or identity. The adolescent’s identity is a construction of drives, abilities, beliefs, and individual history (Marcia, 1980). In addition to searching for personal identity, it is important for the adolescent to establish autonomy within his/her social context. As their peer interactions change, their family relationships do as well. However, the family context is very important in regard to adolescent development. The relationship quality between adolescents and their families greatly influence their self-esteem, ability to adjust, and relationships with others. Conversely, the relationship quality between adolescents and their families is often influenced by the number, birth order, and age spacing of siblings within the family. It is crucial that families grasp an understanding of this developmental period to help adolescents adjust through these various changes. This poses the question: What role does family play in adolescent development?

It is important to consider the environment in which an adolescent is raised. Parenting styles assist in explaining adolescent behavior. If an adolescent is raised in a safe and secure environment with parents that exhibit authoritative characteristics fostering an open and warm atmosphere, the adolescents are more psychosocially mature and competent (Yeh, 2003). These types of parents balance two very important tasks; they help to p...

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... interviewees, there is potential for bias which could significantly skew the data that I collected. Lastly, it would have been more beneficial to interview a sibling of the adolescent. I could have then explored the perspectives from all three roles within the family—the parent, sibling, and adolescent.

From my conducted research and interviews, I have concluded that parents act as the most influential force during adolescent development. More research is needed in the field of how siblings play a role in adolescent development. Adolescents exhibit behaviors based on the influences that emerge from the context of the home. This environment incorporates many different factors including the number, age spacing, and birth order of siblings within the family. These factors, along with parenting patterns, serve as a bidirectional relationship in adolescent development.
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