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J Adolesc Health Care. 1986 Mar;7(2):101-6.

Parental reactions to the onset of adolescence.


This paper documents the common changes associated with the onset of puberty and examines parents' reactions to these changes. Nine hundred questionnaires were sent to the parents of sixth and seventh graders (11-13 years old) in four communities. The questionnaire requested information on the perception of recent behavioral changes and the parents' emotional responses to them. Four hundred parents responded. Parents reported significant changes, both positive and negative, in their children in the year prior to the study. Reported changes were not significantly related to community locations, demographic or education variables, and, with one exception, to the sex of the child. First-born children were perceived more negatively and generated more negative feelings in parents. Younger parents (less than or equal to 38 years of age) perceived more negative changes and experienced more negative and anxious feelings toward their children than did older parents (greater than or equal to 39 years). These findings suggest that a primary cause of stress for parents with children in this age group may be a lack of knowledge about the developmental process. Physicians may be able to reduce the stress by providing anticipatory guidance to parents about the physical growth and psychologic aspects of early adolescence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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