Entries in parental knowledge (2)


Knowledge About Your Adolescent’s Life: Will it Necessarily Decline Over Time? (Hint: Probably)

As we’ve reviewed previously, it’s hard for parents to fight the natural expectations kids develop regarding their right to privacy; as kids grow older and become more independent they naturally desire more privacy which causes them to disclose less and less to their parents. As a result, how much parents know about what their kids do on a daily basis (i.e., parental knowledge) declines during adolescence.

But much of the past work on the topic of parental knowledge focuses on mean, or average, levels of parental knowledge rather than considering the possibility that different types of families might show different patterns of change, or trajectories, in such knowledge over time. Such heterogeneity in parental knowledge would have important implications and applications as it would help researchers identify those families (and their potentially resilient characteristics) that are able to ward off declines in parental knowledge versus those that demonstrate more typical patterns (and, as a parent, I can imagine that information being very useful). 

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Note to Parents of Adolescent Kids: Stay Out if You Want "In"

My daughter is 4 years old, and has proven to very evasive when asked about her daily life at the Montessori she attends daily. A typical dinner conversation will go something like this:

Me: How was your day?

Her: Boring.

Me: What did you do? Who’d you play with?

Her: Nothing.

That pretty much captures it. And I will admit that it absolutely drives me crazy. Why? Because if the details of her private life are this elusive to me now, there’s no way I’m going to make it through her adolescent years without some intense therapy. I always want her (and our son) to feel comfortable confiding in me and keeping me informed about what’s going on in their lives --- something that will become increasingly important as they age and spend more and more time in their own private social worlds.

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