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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0131664. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Despite a growing body of research on parental management of peer relationships, little is known about the relationship between parental management of peers and early adolescents’ social skills or the precursors to parental management of peer relationships. The goals of this short-term longitudinal investigation were to examine the relationship between parental management of peers (consulting and guiding), conflict about peers, and adolescents’ social skills (cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control) and to examine potential precursors (goals of improving peer relationships and beliefs about authority over peer relationships) to parental management of peer relationships. A predominantly White sample (71%) of 75 seventh-graders (57% female) and their primary caregivers participated in the 9-month investigation. Caregivers completed questionnaires regarding goals of improving their adolescents’ peer relationships, beliefs about parental authority over peer relationships, parental management of peers, and adolescents’ social skills. Adolescents completed questionnaires regarding their social skills. Path analyses suggest that a greater number of caregivers’ goals of improving peer relationships and higher beliefs about parental authority over peers were related to higher levels of consulting, guiding, and conflict about peers. Higher levels of conflict about peers in conjunction with higher levels of consulting were related to lower levels of assertion and responsibility in peer relationships over time. When parents reported having a greater number of goals of improving peer relationships, adolescents reported higher levels of cooperation, assertion, empathy, and self control over time. Findings suggest that caregivers’ goals and beliefs are important in predicting parental management of peer relationships and adolescents’ social skills over time, and that conflict about peers undermines caregivers’ efforts to be positively involved in adolescents’ peer relationships.
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- Parental Management of Peer Relationships and Early Adolescents’ Social Skills
Nina S. Mounts
- Springer US