A project of the Child Trends News Service supported by the National Science Foundation

Overcontrolling Parents Hinder Kids’ Friendships

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Relationships, whether platonic or romantic, can have benefits in ways that improve both physical and mental health. However, a new study shows that one style of parenting can have negative effects on teens and their relationships, even through adulthood.

Researchers at the University of Virginia collected data from 184 teens when they were 13, 18, and 21. They asked the teens, at 13, questions regarding their relationship with their parents. They found when parents used psychological coercion to control their teens’ decisions, such as the parent being less friendly with the teen if they don’t see things the parent’s way, that hindered teens’ ability to use reasoning and express confidence during disagreements with friends. As researchers followed these teens throughout the years, they found the study participants carried the inability to use these skills with friends and romantic partners through early adulthood.

The study suggests that psychologically controlling parents can restrict a teen’s ability to maintain close relationships and resolve conflicts later in life. So, parents: Help promote your teen’s capacity to take part in polite disagreements by giving them space to learn how to have respectful disagreements with you.

During the study, participants had to nominate someone who was a close friend of theirs at all three points where data was collected, which was at ages 13, 18, and 21. Less than 24 percent of the participants brought back the same close friend twice, and only two percent brought back the same friend all three times.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4376599/

 

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