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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 12 the ability to function with greater social, cognitive, and emotional autonomy may be seen as a critical developmental task of adolescence. The question is not really whether there will be a renegotiation but how it will be accepted by parents as well as adolescents. Research on adolescent autonomy and relatedness is beginning to link these developmental processes to an individual’s attachment organization both before and after adolescence (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). Parents’ mental representations of attachment affect their reaction to separation events and this is strongly supported by the research of Hock et. al (2001). Parents who are comfortable with the adolescent pursuit of autonomy produce an environment where the change in family members’ roles can be negotiated with a minimal amount of conflict. In other words, they are comfortable with the autonomy-connection dialectic concerning their teenager (Hock et al., 2001). Adolescent autonomy-seeking behavior can be viewed as part of the exploratory system, which may at times not just have opposing goals to attachment system, but may actually have as a goal the minimization of the power of the attachment system with respect to parents (Bowlby, 1973). That is, an adolescent seeks to explore living without being emotionally dependent on his or her parents. In adolescence, the exploratory system may well take on greater primacy, particularly with respect to attachment to parents, as adolescents develop capacities that make them decreasingly dependent on their parents. Without such exploration, accomplishing the major tasks of social development in adolescence and young adulthood, such as establishing long-term romantic relationships and productive careers, may well be difficult, if not impossible. The notion that adolescents can explore (emotionally) the possibility of living independently from their parents, in part because they now that they can turn to parents in cases of real need, is

Authors: Allen, Donna. and Rangarajan, Sripriya.
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Attachment and Family Influence on Adolescence 12
the ability to function with greater social, cognitive, and emotional autonomy may be seen as a
critical developmental task of adolescence. The question is not really whether there will be a
renegotiation but how it will be accepted by parents as well as adolescents. Research on
adolescent autonomy and relatedness is beginning to link these developmental processes to an
individual’s attachment organization both before and after adolescence (Cassidy & Shaver,
1999).
Parents’ mental representations of attachment affect their reaction to separation events
and this is strongly supported by the research of Hock et. al (2001). Parents who are comfortable
with the adolescent pursuit of autonomy produce an environment where the change in family
members’ roles can be negotiated with a minimal amount of conflict. In other words, they are
comfortable with the autonomy-connection dialectic concerning their teenager (Hock et al.,
2001).
Adolescent autonomy-seeking behavior can be viewed as part of the exploratory system,
which may at times not just have opposing goals to attachment system, but may actually have as
a goal the minimization of the power of the attachment system with respect to parents (Bowlby,
1973). That is, an adolescent seeks to explore living without being emotionally dependent on his
or her parents. In adolescence, the exploratory system may well take on greater primacy,
particularly with respect to attachment to parents, as adolescents develop capacities that make
them decreasingly dependent on their parents. Without such exploration, accomplishing the
major tasks of social development in adolescence and young adulthood, such as establishing
long-term romantic relationships and productive careers, may well be difficult, if not impossible.
The notion that adolescents can explore (emotionally) the possibility of living independently
from their parents, in part because they now that they can turn to parents in cases of real need, is


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