Adolescent Behavior

A discussion of the differences between parental and peer influence on adolescent behavior.

This paper aims to show that, while there are limits on what parents can do, parents can play a key role in their child’s future by helping the child deal with the struggle against antagonistic peer groups and a hostile culture. In an effort to demonstrate this role, it examines whether the amount of influence parents have on adolescent behavior, whether they lose this influence at some point, and whether the amount of time parents spend with their children affects their ability to be influenced by peers. It also looks at whether peers are more influential than the parents and how parents regain control of a child who has gotten out of control due to negative peer influences.

Parental Influences and How they Affect Adolescents
The Role of a Parent
Still, according to Harris, parents do have an effect on their children. What she questions is the claim of how much and in what ways parents influence their children. Parents do control where a child lives and how often the child moves, and that control is of major importance in influencing the child’s development. This is because where a child lives and who is in his or her peer group depends on where he lives and how he fits into the available peer groups. Those can have larger effects than whether a parent smokes or forces their children to take piano lessons, attend church, or clean up their room.