Topic one
Parenting Teenagers:
relationships and behaviour
Why Parenting Teenagers:
relationships & behaviour?
• Features frequently in calls to parenting
helplines
• Highlighted by Capability Scotland’s 1 in 4
poll
What did we use?
• Data from calls to helplines
• Review of existing research
• Survey of disabled parents and parents of
disabled teenagers
• Feedback from services and academics on
draft report to check relevance
What do we know?
• Less support for parents of teens
• Lots of calls to parenting helplines – time when
parents struggle
• Disability excluded from most mainstream
research on families
• Most research on 2-parent heterosexual families
• Lots of research on ‘social problems’ less on
everyday issues
Conflict
• Conflict can be useful for teen
development
• How, with whom and why conflict happens
is important
– Privacy boundaries
– Learning to manage conflict
– Developing emotional responses
Conflict
• Inter-parental conflict can draw teens in
• Parents need support to manage own
behaviour and emotions and cope with
conflict
Questions
Is conflict seen as a typical part of growing
up?
Do parents of boys and girls have different
experiences of conflict?
How can services support parents with
different types of family conflict?
Communication and
Relationships
• Good communication important in families
• Can contribute to positive outcomes for
teens
• The issue of balancing support and control
is complex
• Not clear where parents would get support
to develop communication skills
Questions
How do services support parents over
deciding appropriate levels of supporting
and control?
How can services help parents to
negotiate agreements that work for both
sides?
Independence
• Parents cope best when they can enjoy
their teenager’s increasing independence
• Parents sometimes feel anxious and
rejected which leads them to curtail their
teenager’s activities
• Parents need support to see growing
independence as healthy and appropriate
Questions
How can parents be supported to be less
anxious over independence and understand
age-appropriate behaviour?
What are the implications for lone parents?
Parenting together
• Parents agreeing about their approach is
more important than who does what
• Fathers are less likely to seek formal
support and more likely to rely on their
partner
Questions
What are the implications for lone
parents?
What are the implications for supporting
fathers?
Divorce and re-partnering
• Close relationships with stepfathers tend
to follow close relationships with mothers
• Teenagers relationships with their fathers
are the same after mothers remarry
• Negative comments about fathers after
separation affect some boys more than
others
Questions
Does family change affect families with
teens differently to families with younger
children?
How can services best communicate with
parents over issues around separation and
re-partnering?
Control and monitoring
• Communication often works better than
coercion in monitoring teenage activities
• Teenagers tell parents less than parents
assume
• Closeness of relationships and agreement
over authority help information sharing
• Mobile phones are often used to negotiate
movement and curfews
Questions
How can parents balance their parental
authority with respecting privacy?
How can parents be supported in keeping
up good relationships where sharing
information is usual?
How can services help in managing
expectations over what, and how much,
information to share?
Families affected by
disability
Generally a large amount of similarity
• Some differences – Both mothers and fathers are more likely to
be involved in disabled teen’s life
– Enjoy seeing social development
– Resources and attitudes can restrain
opportunities for development
Families affected by
disability
– Sometimes knowing about their teenagers
involves other people more
– Impact of disabled parent on teenager
– Used mobile phones more
– More communication over activities
– Wish to ‘protect’ disabled parent
What helps parents cope?
•
•
•
•
Pride in seeing teen develop socially
Enjoying the maturation of their child
Being supportive
Viewing themselves as warm and
affectionate to their teenager
• Seeing their teenager acquire new skills
What now?
Discussion groups:
1. Explore implications & identify areas where
you think action could be taken
2. How could action be taken?
3. In logbooks – other thoughts, reflections,
potential areas for action / development