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Adolescents' role in democratic "parenting"
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In research on family democracy there has been a tradition to focus on parents as leaders setting up the family climate. This dissertation challenged this perspective. Keeping with present day’s emphasis on bidirectionality between parents and children democratic family functioning was seen as jointly created by parents and youths. Results showed that youths behaviors and characteristics have to be taken into account if the democratic working of the family is to be fully understood. When controlling for parents’ behaviors, adolescents’ behaviors added significantly to the prediction of a democratic family climate (Study I). Within families, youths democracy compromising behaviors were found to not only have consequences for the individual child. Instead, it was found that changes in younger siblings’ perceptions of family democracy changed as a consequence of an older sibling’s earlier democracy compromising behavior (Study II). Finally, parental openness to communication, youth openness to communication, and parental bad treatment all were found to be separate components of family democracy. Also, these components of family democracy were found to be prospectively linked to adolescents’ perceptions of the democratic climate in their own families. Further, these three components could be used to identify stable family configurations which differed with respect to adolescents’ perceptions of having influence in family matters and their internal-and external adjustment as well as other aspects of the parent-child relationship (Study III). Moreover, changes over-time within families in parental openness to communication, youth openness to communication, and parental bad treatment were associated with changes in youths’ perceptions of having influence in family matters and other features of parent-child relations (Study III). On the whole, these findings lend strong support to seeing children as active agents in the democratic workings of the family and they support a family systems approach to the issue of democratic family functioning. Clearly, young people are human agents with the capacity to interpret and react to their own reality. They are certainly both the harvest and the seeds of democratic family functioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet , 2009. , 62 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 17
Keyword [en]
family democracy, adolescents, bidirecetional, siblings, family system, parenting, communication
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8737ISBN: 978-91-7668-709-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-8737DiVA: diva2:280721
Public defence
2010-01-15, Hörsal L2, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2011-04-29Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Adolescents' conceptions of family democracy: does their own behavior play a role?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adolescents' conceptions of family democracy: does their own behavior play a role?
2004 (English)In: European Journal of Developmental Psychology, ISSN 1740-5629, E-ISSN 1740-5610, Vol. 1, no 4, 317-330 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Much research on family democracy has started from the assumption that parents produce the democratic climate and adolescent behavior is an outcome of it. In this study, we asked whether and how adolescent behavior contributes to family democracy, using both parents’ and adolescents’ behaviors as predictors of family democracy. Participants were 1,057 15-to-16-year-olds in a city in central Sweden. The results showed that adolescents’ conceptions of family democracy involve both their own and their parents’ behavior. When controlling for parents’ behaviors, adolescents’ behaviors added significantly to the prediction of democracy. Parents’ warmth and the adolescents’ openness to communication seem to be two major aspects of the democratic workings in the family. Hence, the democratic workings of the family cannot be described fully if adolescents’ behavior is ignored.

Keyword
adolescent attitudes, family relations, parent child communication, parental attitudes, parenting style, democracy, family democracy, adolescents, parent-child relations
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences Social Anthropology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8745 (URN)10.1080/17405620444000238 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2015-02-20Bibliographically approved
2. Youth behaviors that undermine family democracy: do they change the family climate as a whole?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Youth behaviors that undermine family democracy: do they change the family climate as a whole?
2009 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Family democracy is considered important for many reasons, but little is known about what determines or affects it. One cross-sectional study showed that youths’ perceptions of democracy in the family are determined by their own behaviors as well as their parents’ (Persson et al., 2004).  However, only one youth per family was included in their analyses. This leaves open the possibility that youths’ behavior only had implications for their own relationships with parents. In the present study it is tested whether youths behaviors can change the democratic family as a whole. Using three waves of data from 146 same-sex sibling pairs aged ten to fifteen years at Time 1, we examined whether youths delinquency, defiance, and non-disclosure had consequences for the democratic family climate as a whole. Results showed that older siblings’ democracy-undermining behaviors (and changes in these) predicted subsequent changes in younger sibling’s perceptions of family democracy. The findings support a family systems interpretation of the democratic workings of the family as a whole in that the behavior of one youth in the family had consequences for a sibling’s perception of family democracy.

Keyword
family democracy, youth, adolescents, longitudinal, problem behavior, decision-making, disclosure
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8748 (URN)
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2015-02-20Bibliographically approved
3. Adolescents' perceptions of the democratic functioning in their families
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adolescents' perceptions of the democratic functioning in their families
2010 (English)In: European Psychologist, ISSN 1016-9040, E-ISSN 1878-531X, Vol. 16, no 1, 32-42 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Democratic family functioning has traditionally been interpreted as effects of parenting, leaving little room for the child in shaping the democratic climate. Based on a bidirectional view of family relationships, we argued that families characterized by openness and fair treatment should be the families adolescents experience as democratic. It should be the same families where parents know much about their adolescents’ whereabouts outside home. We used a longitudinal study following a group of 13-15 year old adolescents (N = 527) over two years, and we combined variable- and person-oriented methods. The results using variable-oriented methods confirmed that both adolescent and parental behaviors were concurrently, prospectively, and bidirectionally linked to adolescents’ perceptions of the democratic family climate. Using person-oriented methods, we found that adolescents perceived a highly democratic family climate in families characterized by both parental and adolescent openness and parental fair treatment. Parental knowledge was also highest in these families. Over time, increases or decreases in family functioning corresponded to increases or decreases in adolescents’ perceptions of their influence in family matters and in parental knowledge. We conclude that conceptions of the democratic functioning of the family have to include the behaviors of both parents and adolescents and that mutual responsivity is a marker of the democratic family functioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2010
Keyword
family democracy, adolescents, parent-adolescent relations, family system, parenting
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8749 (URN)10.1027/1016-9040/a000039 (DOI)000287693700004 ()
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2017-02-14Bibliographically approved

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