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Effects of Parental Attachment Style and Parental Expectations on Family Conflict in Families with Adolescents
Unformatted Document Text:  Attachment and Family Influence on Adolescence 10 such differences become even more evident. What is particularly useful when elaborating on this phase in an individual’s life is Hinde’s (1979) notion of “penetration.” According to Hinde (1979), penetration is a dimension of relationships that describes the centrality of one person to another’s life - the extent to which a person penetrates a variety of aspects of the other’s life. According to Ainsworth (1982a), the concept of penetration is particularly useful when considering the changing nature of a child’s attachment to the parent. She proposed that it may be more appropriate not to talk of the bond as becoming “weaker,” but rather as characterizing a relationship that penetrates fewer aspects of the growing child’s life as he or she comes to spend more time away from the parents and to develop new relationships. Often, parents view this deliberate disengagement from the adolescent as a negative reflection on their parenting and this sets off a chain of events that may well lead to conflict between the parents and adolescent. As Moretti and Wiebe (1999) state, “At a fundamental level, adolescence involves a transition from a primary focus on parental standards and expectations for self-regulation to an appreciation of a wider range of self-regulatory standards (e.g., standards and expectations of peers, intimate partners, teachers, and employers)” (p. 624). Adolescents must move through the process of disengaging from parents and attaching to others as a normal part of development. Conflict may not be as much the result of this disengangement as it is the result of parental reactions to the process. According to Bowlby (1973), during infancy and early childhood, it is not so much that the attachment figure must always be present for the child to feel safe and protected but that the child has the knowledge that the attachment figure is available and accessible, if needed. In several respects, this process in adolescence appears only slightly different from attachment processes in infancy (Ainsworth, 1989). In early to mid-adolescence, most young people usually

Authors: Allen, Donna. and Rangarajan, Sripriya.
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Attachment and Family Influence on Adolescence 10
such differences become even more evident. What is particularly useful when elaborating on this
phase in an individual’s life is Hinde’s (1979) notion of “penetration.” According to Hinde
(1979), penetration is a dimension of relationships that describes the centrality of one person to
another’s life - the extent to which a person penetrates a variety of aspects of the other’s life.
According to Ainsworth (1982a), the concept of penetration is particularly useful when
considering the changing nature of a child’s attachment to the parent. She proposed that it may
be more appropriate not to talk of the bond as becoming “weaker,” but rather as characterizing a
relationship that penetrates fewer aspects of the growing child’s life as he or she comes to spend
more time away from the parents and to develop new relationships. Often, parents view this
deliberate disengagement from the adolescent as a negative reflection on their parenting and this
sets off a chain of events that may well lead to conflict between the parents and adolescent. As
Moretti and Wiebe (1999) state, “At a fundamental level, adolescence involves a transition from
a primary focus on parental standards and expectations for self-regulation to an appreciation of a
wider range of self-regulatory standards (e.g., standards and expectations of peers, intimate
partners, teachers, and employers)” (p. 624). Adolescents must move through the process of
disengaging from parents and attaching to others as a normal part of development. Conflict may
not be as much the result of this disengangement as it is the result of parental reactions to the
process.
According to Bowlby (1973), during infancy and early childhood, it is not so much that
the attachment figure must always be present for the child to feel safe and protected but that the
child has the knowledge that the attachment figure is available and accessible, if needed. In
several respects, this process in adolescence appears only slightly different from attachment
processes in infancy (Ainsworth, 1989). In early to mid-adolescence, most young people usually


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