How parents experience a transition to adolescence: A qualitative study

  • Spring B
  • Rosen K
  • Matheson J
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We investigated how parents who considered themselves "normally stressed" experienced their first child's transition to adolescence. Family systems theory provided a theoretical starting point for this qualitative study, which identified intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual themes in parents' stories about their experiences. Based on the findings, a theoretical model was developed that illustrates how components of parental experiences seem to interrelate. From the parents' perspective, the transition to parenting an adolescent began with a specific, noticeable change in their teenager, which led to a process of adjustment on their part. Participants viewed themselves as experiencing the normal ups and downs of parenting so their descriptions were of a relatively smooth "rebalancing" process. However, the information they provided suggests several potential interventions for parents who may be experiencing severe challenges in adjusting to parenting teenagers. © 2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Adult development
  • Family life cycle
  • Qualitative research
  • Transition

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  • Beth Spring

  • Karen H. Rosen

  • Jennifer L. Matheson

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