Instructions Part 1: Answer each aspect of the Discussion Question thoughtfully and thoroughly. Support your ideas with examples and citations from the readings, lectures, online materials, and/or any outside source you find on your own that substantiates your opinion. Remember, posts must be substantive; see the grading rubric for details on what constitutes a substantive post.
answer the questions outlined below.
Use course readings, lectures, and online resources (if applicable) to support your ideas.
- Discussion Question : We have read and studied this week about how teens spend increasing time among peers and less time with parents than they had previously. The relative importance and influence of those peers’ opinions and decisions is greater at this time as well. Because adolescence represents a unique bridging period between childhood and adulthood, adolescence has been called an apprenticeship for adulthood. Thus, it is important that parents recognize their teens’ developmentally appropriate need for increasing autonomy (i.e., times of unsupervised freedom, independence) as teens are “trying out” their independent selves, and grant autonomy in healthy ways and among healthy contexts.
- Read the brief articles below from The Conversation, a popular online media outlet with scholarly research authors, and offer thoughts for discussion together regarding parents’ autonomy-granting for their adolescent children:
1. Parents are often reluctant to grant autonomy to teens because they fear they’ll engage in unhealthy or risky behavior. As a result, many parents–perhaps aligned with their parenting style–clamp down rules and barriers to teens’ independence. But as we’ve observed with other developmental stages, typically, a type of middle-ground is optimal: Permitting some independence while providing a healthy level of structured support and monitoring (i.e., keeping general awareness of and contact with adolescents, when they are not with parents).
2. After you have read these articles and course materials this week, consider what may be contributing to teens’ risk-taking and developmental need for autonomy.
3. Reflect on your own teenage years. Did your parents have rules in place to limit your autonomy (remember, these might be very healthy rules, like curfews)? Do you recall their level of monitoring? For example, maybe they engaged in things like asking which friends you would be with, asking you to call when you got there, keeping up with/attending your activities or sports, or chaperoning events. What was your reaction as a teen to their style of autonomy-granting versus monitoring?
4. Think carefully about specific examples of times you engaged in risky behavior. How did your parents react? Do you think (as an adult now) that their level of autonomy-granting versus monitoring contributed to how much you engaged in risky behavior? Or perhaps for some, your individual temperament (e.g., prone to risk-taking, prone to thrill-seeking, prone to anger) contributed to your risky behavior, regardless of their parenting?
5. In many U.S. states, teens are held responsible for their illegal activity. Do you feel this is appropriate? How might this reflect on how much their parents granted autonomy or monitored them–or does it?
6. Given what we’ve read and studied about adolescents’ brain development and social development, now that you are an adult, might you feel differently about your parents’ autonomy-granting versus monitoring? Would you (or might you already) think about granting autonomy differently to your teen children? Would you (or might you already) monitor them more closely or more loosely? With the constant onslaught of new technical tools to monitor, control, and supervise teens’ behaviors, do you think it will be easier for parents going forward to grant autonomy and monitor? How do these influence parent-teen relationships, in your opinion?