What Do You Want?: Teens Unmet Expectations About the Parent-Child Relationship

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

National Communication Association Annual Convention

Conference Location

Atlanta, GA


Previous research (Dixson, 1995; Fisher & Dixson, 2001) has looked at the connection between the match between children's expectations about the parent-child relationship and their experience of that relationship and how meeting those expectations relates to family satisfaction and conversationally oriented communication patterns. This research looks at the other side of that issue. It explores how conformity orientation relates to satisfaction with 38 adolescents and discovers that the higher the level of conformity reported the lower an adolescent's satisfaction with family life. The paper also examines what expectations about the parent-child relationship children report as not being met. The study finds that they report many kinds of behaviors, feelings and rules as not being met including loving and respecting each other, parents paying attention to children and children completing their chores. The paper concludes with suggestions for next steps in looking at the parent-child relationship from a developmental perspective.



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