Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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The phenomenon of adolescents placing pressure on their parents

Garfield Bester, Amanda C Marais


Parents are under pressure from their adolescent children if they, contrary to their own convictions, are compelled to bend rules or adapt decisions to submit to the demands of their children. The objective of this investigation was to determine which factors contribute to this phenomenon. Method: The sample comprised 177 adolescents and their parents in the Mpumalanga province. Variables taken into account were individual factors (gender, age and personality of parents and adolescents); factors related to the family (family structure, working circumstances of parents, family relationships and birth order position of adolescents); developmental factors (identity formation of adolescents); and wider contextual factors (peer pressure during adolescence). Results: From the parents’ side factors such as self-concept, personality and parent–adolescent relationship explained almost 62% of the variance in the pressure that parents experience. Only one prominent adolescent factor could be identified, namely adolescent–parent relationship (seen from the adolescents’ side). Conclusion: The results indicate that the pressure which parents encounter from their adolescent children is associated with parental variables rather than adolescent variables. Adolescents do not deliberately plan to place their parents under pressure, but factors on the parents’ side create such a situation.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2014, 26(1): 15–33
AJOL African Journals Online