Marvin J. Fine
University of Kansas
Linda D. Robert
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
University of California, Davis
A number of experts writing on adolescence have emphasized the increased stress on the adolescent brought about by significant societal changes. Many of these changes relate to the home and include economic stress, divorce, and the need for both parents to be employed. There are also “culture shock changes regarding music, clothing, hair styles, and body “ornamentation” that can create an even greater gap between the growing up experiences of parents and their children (Elkind, 1984, 1994; Preto & Travis, 1985; Youniss & Smollar, 1985).
Parent-adolescent crises often occur within the context of the adolescent's striving for independence. The crisis may revolve around some specific concern ranging from choice of friends, curfew, clothing styles, and the use of the family car, through school performance and grades, to drug and alcohol use, sexual behavior, depression, and threats of suicide. But the underlying issue is frequently that of the adolescent's move toward a more equal position vis-&vis the parents. It is also important to note that the characterization of adolescence as a period of great stress and conflict ap pears to be an overgeneralization when applied to virtually all persons between 13 and 19 years of age. Although it can be a time of remarkable turbulence and change, most adolescents weather this period well and get on with their lives. The popular literature dramatizes the problems of adolescents rather than their successes and positive contributions.