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More support needed for parents, adolescents dealing with conflict: research

University of Queensland researchers say new research findings suggest more support could help Australian parents who are experiencing high-levels of conflict with their teenagers.

Preliminary findings from research being undertaken by psychologist and researcher Dr Kylie Burke and Dr Cassandra Dittman at the Parenting and Family Support Center at UQ is exploring the role of parenting and the parent-adolescent relationship on adolescent well-being.

Burke said their findings to date are suggesting that whilst the majority of families appear to have positive relationships, there is a small but significant group of families, at around a quarter of Australian families who are experiencing relatively high levels of conflict could really do with further support.

“We’ve also found, or are finding, links between a teen who experiences a close and involved with their parent and better outcomes for that teen in terms of behavioural, emotional, and also development of social competence,” she said.

“In contrast, what we’re seeing a really clear pattern for is if there’s hostility and ineffective discipline practices, we see higher behavioural and emotional difficulties and lower social competence in the teen.”

Burke said the conflict can lead to problems for the child at school or with friends and increased their likelihood of participating in risk-taking behaviour.
“The relationship with parents is an incredibly important protective factor for teens.

“By learning how to deal with these points of conflict, parents can make sure they keep a strong relationship with their teen and stay relevant in their kids’ lives,” she said.

“Effective parenting and a close parent-adolescent relationship has been shown to be a really important protective factor for children in adolescence.

“It’s been demonstrated to be linked to better behavioural, emotional, social, and academic outcomes for young people.

“Yet the role of parents and parenting in the teen years has often been ignored or downplayed in interventions aimed at supporting adolescents who are experiencing difficulties in their lives,” Burke said.

Families interested in participating can contact Dr Kylie Burke on [email protected] or find out more here: https://exp.psy.uq.edu.au/parentingteens/

Click below to hear more from Kylie Burke.

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