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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 5 systems, as the adolescent evolves from being a receiver of care from parents to being a potential caregiver. Parents in synchronous families do not unilaterally determine the child’s passage through adolescence. Neither does the adolescent determine the family dynamic during this time. There is certainly a mutual influence. Parents provide a secure environment that allows their children to participate in decision-making and problem solving. Chu and Powers (1995) identify five characteristics associated with interactions needed for adolescent-adult synchrony. These are (1) frequent turn-taking with mutual problem solving and decision making; (2) synchrony (coordination), harmony, and sensitivity; (3) frequent interaction; (4) displays of enjoyment and pleasure; and (5) change over time, reflecting adjustment and adaptation on the part of both adolescent and parent. As can be seen from these characteristics, the overall need for the family to negotiate adolescence is for both parents and adolescents to invest in and respect each other, to enjoy the relationship, and to adapt to new roles. Research is increasingly showing that adolescent autonomy is most easily established not at the expense of attachment relationships with parents, but against a secure backdrop of secure relationships with parents and parental figures that are likely to endure well beyond adolescence. Rather than inhibiting the developmental changes facing adolescents, parental attachment plays an integral role in helping them deal with the challenges (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). What seems key to helping parents and adolescents deal with the challenge together as a family unit is to recognize that parents behave differently during this time and that other relationships at that stage may meet the needs of the adolescent better than current relationship with parents may (Kobak & Cole, 1994). Interactions between parents and adolescents during this intense period of conflicting emotions and behaviors are mediated largely by turn taking and harmony. High turn taking and

Authors: Allen, Donna. and Rangarajan, Sripriya.
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Attachment and Family Influence on Adolescence 5
systems, as the adolescent evolves from being a receiver of care from parents to being a potential
caregiver.
Parents in synchronous families do not unilaterally determine the child’s passage through
adolescence. Neither does the adolescent determine the family dynamic during this time. There is
certainly a mutual influence. Parents provide a secure environment that allows their children to
participate in decision-making and problem solving. Chu and Powers (1995) identify five
characteristics associated with interactions needed for adolescent-adult synchrony. These are (1)
frequent turn-taking with mutual problem solving and decision making; (2) synchrony
(coordination), harmony, and sensitivity; (3) frequent interaction; (4) displays of enjoyment and
pleasure; and (5) change over time, reflecting adjustment and adaptation on the part of both
adolescent and parent. As can be seen from these characteristics, the overall need for the family
to negotiate adolescence is for both parents and adolescents to invest in and respect each other, to
enjoy the relationship, and to adapt to new roles. Research is increasingly showing that
adolescent autonomy is most easily established not at the expense of attachment relationships
with parents, but against a secure backdrop of secure relationships with parents and parental
figures that are likely to endure well beyond adolescence. Rather than inhibiting the
developmental changes facing adolescents, parental attachment plays an integral role in helping
them deal with the challenges (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). What seems key to helping parents and
adolescents deal with the challenge together as a family unit is to recognize that parents behave
differently during this time and that other relationships at that stage may meet the needs of the
adolescent better than current relationship with parents may (Kobak & Cole, 1994).
Interactions between parents and adolescents during this intense period of conflicting
emotions and behaviors are mediated largely by turn taking and harmony. High turn taking and


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