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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 6 low parental dominance results in more conversations (Lefkowitz, Kahlbaugh, & Sigman, 1996). Adolescents with secure attachments in synchronous families are able to influence their parents during this time by using appropriate strategies within context and successfully achieving their goals. Consequently, both parent and child are influenced by one another’s behaviors and responses. One result of growth in the adolescent’s cognitive capacities is increased sophistication in managing the “goal-corrected partnership” with each parent, in which behavior is determined not only by the adolescent’s current needs and desires, but also by recognition of the need to manage certain set goals for the partnership (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). Although elements of the goal-corrected partnership are evident far earlier in development (Bowlby, 1973), this partnership reaches new levels of complexity and coordination as a result of adolescents’ enhanced perspective-taking abilities and capacity to consider attachment relationships from both their own and their parents’ points of view. Other studies have shown mutual influence to be at the center of adolescent-parent interactions (Rathunde, 1997; Chu & Powers, 1995; Ge, et al., 1996). The level of interest and enjoyment for family members is likely to enhance the bonds of attachment and love in the family, leading to higher quality interactions. High parent-child affiliation allows for conflict without sacrificing engagement or involvement (Lefkowitz et al., 1996). For example, in the task of learning to resolve differences of opinions between parents and adolescents, adolescents with secure attachment strategies tend to engage in productive, problem solving discussions that balance striving for autonomy with efforts to preserve the current relationship between parents and self. These discussions may be heated or intense at times, but maintain a focus on solving the disagreement at hand. In contrast, insecure child-parent dyads are more likely to be characterized by avoidance of problem solving and lower levels of adolescent confidence in interactions, and

Authors: Allen, Donna. and Rangarajan, Sripriya.
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Attachment and Family Influence on Adolescence 6
low parental dominance results in more conversations (Lefkowitz, Kahlbaugh, & Sigman, 1996).
Adolescents with secure attachments in synchronous families are able to influence their parents
during this time by using appropriate strategies within context and successfully achieving their
goals. Consequently, both parent and child are influenced by one another’s behaviors and
responses. One result of growth in the adolescent’s cognitive capacities is increased
sophistication in managing the “goal-corrected partnership” with each parent, in which behavior
is determined not only by the adolescent’s current needs and desires, but also by recognition of
the need to manage certain set goals for the partnership (Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). Although
elements of the goal-corrected partnership are evident far earlier in development (Bowlby, 1973),
this partnership reaches new levels of complexity and coordination as a result of adolescents’
enhanced perspective-taking abilities and capacity to consider attachment relationships from both
their own and their parents’ points of view.
Other studies have shown mutual influence to be at the center of adolescent-parent
interactions (Rathunde, 1997; Chu & Powers, 1995; Ge, et al., 1996). The level of interest and
enjoyment for family members is likely to enhance the bonds of attachment and love in the
family, leading to higher quality interactions. High parent-child affiliation allows for conflict
without sacrificing engagement or involvement (Lefkowitz et al., 1996). For example, in the task
of learning to resolve differences of opinions between parents and adolescents, adolescents with
secure attachment strategies tend to engage in productive, problem solving discussions that
balance striving for autonomy with efforts to preserve the current relationship between parents
and self. These discussions may be heated or intense at times, but maintain a focus on solving the
disagreement at hand. In contrast, insecure child-parent dyads are more likely to be characterized
by avoidance of problem solving and lower levels of adolescent confidence in interactions, and


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