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Parents’ reactions to adolescents’ hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems: do their experiences of having raised a child before matter?
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0324-8450
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7546-2275
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Parents learn from their experiences of having raised a child before, but it is unknown if it makes them better to deal with challenging behaviors in their later-born children. Some behaviors are particularly difficult to handle, such as Hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems (HIA), which have been shown to make parents feel powerless. In this study, we examined if these feelings were dependent on parents’ experiences with their older children. Two models were examined, the learning-from-experience model and the spillover model, which make different predictions of how parents make use of their earlier experiences when they raise their later-born children. We used reports from 372 parents who had one child (M = 11.92 years), and 198 parents who had two children (M = 11.89 and 14.35 years). In agreement with Bugental’s parental attribution model, HIA was associated with parents’ feelings of powerlessness among parents who both had and those who had not raised a child before. Further, we did not find empirical support for the learning-from-experience model — parents felt powerless about their younger children with HIA even if they had raised a child before with HIA. However, consistent with the spillover hypothesis, parents felt particularly powerless about their younger children with HIA if they also felt powerless about their older children. These findings highlight the importance of acknowledging parents’ experiences with their older children in research and clinical settings.

Keywords [en]
parents’ reactions, adolescents’ HIA, siblings, parents’ feelings of powerlessness
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-20364OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-20364DiVA, id: diva2:457038
Available from: 2011-11-16 Created: 2011-11-16 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Parent's reactions to adolescents' problematic behaviors
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parent's reactions to adolescents' problematic behaviors
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Traditional socialization theories suggest that parents shape their children, and parents’ socialization strategies are decided upon largely independent of the children. These ideas, however, have received criticism. In this dissertation, I focus on how children and adolescents influence their parents’ behaviors. Specifically, I examine parents’ reactions to problematic behaviors in their adolescents. In the three studies, I presented theoretical models that offered explanations why parents react as they do to problematic behaviors in their adolescents. In these models, parents’ cognitions worked as mechanisms to explain their subsequent reactions. The overall pattern in the studies was that parents tended to shift in cognitions about their own role as parents and their adolescents’ behaviors when they were faced with problematic behaviors, which influenced their behaviors toward their adolescents. In Study I, parents became less strictly opposed to adolescent drinking when they encountered their adolescents intoxicated. This reaction was explained by a reduction in dissonance between their attitudes to adolescent drinking and their knowledge of their own adolescents’ drinking. In Study II and Study III, parents of adolescents with hyperactivity, impulsivity, and attention problems (HIA) reported that their adolescents did not respond to their attempts to correct their behaviors. This cognition made them feel powerless and, as a consequence, they increased in negative behaviors and decreased in positive parenting strategies. In these two studies, parents decreased in their thoughts of being able to deal with their adolescents’ misbehaviors. In addition, as was shown in the third study, these cognitions seem to be influenced by parents’ earlier experiences with their first-born children. In sum, the results of this dissertation suggest that adolescents influence their parents’ cognitions and behaviors. Further, the results highlight the importance of focusing on how parents’ ways of thinking influence their parenting strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2011. p. 71
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 22
Keywords
Adolescents, problematic behaviors, adolescents' characteristics parents' cognitions, parents' reactions, parenting, parent-child relationship, family system
National Category
Social Sciences Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-20132 (URN)978-91-7668-832-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-12-16, Hörsal 2 Prismahuset, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-10-20 Created: 2011-10-20 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Glatz, TereseStattin, HåkanKerr, Margaret

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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