Adolescent and parent relationships

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Adolescent and parent relationships in the AIFS library catalogue

The economic case for early intervention in the child protection and out-of-home care system in Victoria: research paper

Social Ventures Australia, Berry Street Victoria
Richmond, Vic. : Berry Street, 2019.
This report highlights the cost-effectiveness of providing long-term, additional investment in targeted early intervention and intensive family preservation to prevent children entering out-of-home care in Victoria. It models the impact of establishing five evidence-based programs: investing $150 million per year in these programs over a 10-year period would deliver net savings of $1.6 billion and prevent approximately 1,200 children from entering out-of-home care. The numbers of children being removed from their families is steadily increasing, as is spending in child welfare: more efforts must be directed to earlier intervention. This report outlines: the current and potential future costs from the rising number of children in the child protection system; the evidence base for early intervention at key points in the child protection system; the number of children who would be diverted from out-of-home care as a result of increased investment in early intervention at key points in the system, using a selection of evidence-based programs as examples; and the net savings which would be accrued, after accounting for program establishment and delivery costs. The five programs modelled in this report are: SafeCare, a parenting program to prevent child abuse and neglect; Functional Family Therapy - Child Welfare, a family therapy program for families referred to child welfare services; Multi-Systemic Therapy, a family therapy program for young people with possible substance abuse issues and who are at risk of out of home care; Multi-Systemic Therapy - Child Abuse and Neglect, an adaptation of that program for high risk cases; and Treatment Foster Care Oregon - Adolescents, a therapeutic care model for young people in foster care in or at risk of entering residential care.

Sources of ethnicity differences in non-cognitive development in children and adolescents

Nguyen H, Connelly L, Thu Le H, Mitrou F, Taylor C and Zubrick S
Indooroopilly, Qld. : Life Course Centre, Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, 2019.
Though research has found that children of Asian immigrants have better academic performance than their native-born counterparts in many English-speaking countries, how well are they faring in other, non-cognitive developmental outcomes? Using data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), this paper looks at the outcomes of pro-social behaviour, hyperactivity and inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer-relationship problems, comparing children with at least one Asian-born parent, children with two Australian-born parents, and children with at least one parent from another immigrant background, for children aged from 6/7 to 14/15 years old. A particular focus is whether the home environment, parental investments, or children's efforts are associated with any differences. The study finds large differences between the children. However, the results vary significantly by trait, child age, and by whether a parent or teacher made the assessment.

Adolescents' resilience.

Evans-Whipp T and Gasser C
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2018. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019: 107-118
This chapter explores young people's resilience at 16-17 years of age, using data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC). It looks into young people's self-reports of resilience, different aspects of resilience such as adaptability and not being discouraged, and whether it differs according to individual, family, peer and school characteristics such as personality traits, closeness and conflict with parents, sources of support in the family, birth order, family structure and separation, parent education and income, bullying, and school belonging. The study finds that positive family, peer and school networks were associated with higher levels of resilience, such as through a close relationship with a parent, at least one close friend, friends they could trust and communicate with, or a strong sense of belonging at school. Young people with outgoing, conscientious, agreeable and emotionally stable personality traits also reported higher levels of resilience.

Please just say you're proud of me: perspectives of young people on parent engagement and doing well at school

Roy A, Barker B and Stafford N
Canberra, ACT : ARACY, 2019.
This report looks at young people's views on the stresses of doing well at school and what supports they want and need from their parents to do well. It presents findings from focus groups with 93 students in years 10 and 12, aged from 15 to 18 years old, on parent engagement with education and school, parent views of success and expectations, whether parents had the time and skills to provide support, issues for students without consistent family support or in out of home care, and what they would like to hear and see in the ideal parent that would help them at school. The students also discussed what 'doing well' meant to them, anxiety and pressure about doing well, and broader supports and barriers to doing well. The students' reported valuing positive support, love and encouragement, as well as practical assistance from their parents. The findings highlight the young people's needs and the areas where parents and families could be better supported to assist their children, rather than adding to those pressures. This study is part of a four-year research project into parent engagement in learning, commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training.

A systematic review of technology-assisted parenting programs for mental health problems in youth aged 0-18 years : applicability to underserved Australian communities.

Hansen A, Broomfield G and Yap M
Australian Journal of Psychology 1 Apr 2019: Advance online publication
This article looks at whether technology-assisted programs may present an effective alternative to face-to-face programs for helping parents address their children's mental health problems. A systematic review was conducted of randomised controlled trials of technology-assisted parenting programs targeting mental health problems in children and young people aged 0-18 years old. The review found some evidence supporting their use but further research is required, particularly to assess whether technology can help engage groups who rarely access face to face programs, such as fathers and rural families.

Less house, more home : adolescent and young adults' experiences of home following parental separation.

Francia L and Millear P
Family Law Review v. 8 no. 1 2019: 3-15
This article explores young people's sense of home following parental separation. It draws on interviews with 17 young people aged from 16 to 27 years old, regarding shared care and living arrangements, ongoing parental conflict, difficulties in parents sharing care and financial resources, parent repartnering, and differences in mother-child and father-child relationships. The findings highlighting the role of sense of belonging and relationship quality in defining a home, and the fluid and ambiguous concept of home for these young people.

Development of ReachOut Parents : a multi-component online program targeting parents to improve youth mental health outcomes.

Cairns K, Potter S, Nicholas M and Buhagiar K
Advances in Mental Health v. 17 no. 1 Special issue on parenting interventions and the mental health of children and parents 2019: 55-71
ReachOut Parents is an online prevention and early intervention service that aims to help parents support their adolescent children's mental health. This article highlights the research that underpins the development of ReachOut Parents, which drew on a literature review, a survey of 1,000 parents about their concerns, needs, and barriers to accessing support, and consultations with 32 young people to understand the role of parents in supporting their mental health and their specific challenges, needs, and preferences for support. The findings highlighted how parents are well-placed to respond to their children's mental health concerns and that online programs have great potential to address the barriers to accessing information and support.

Children's well-being and social relationships, UK, 2018

Great Britain. Office for National Statistics
Newport, Wales : Office for National Statistics, 2018.
This paper looks at trends in children's quality of life in the United Kingdom. It presents data on a range of indicators for children aged 10 to 15 years old, drawing on several large longitudinal studies. It looks at the importance of relationships to children's well-being, family relationships, relationships with friends, bullying and social media use, and wider relationships in the neighbourhood. A greater number of children are talking to their father more than once a week about things that matter to them, while the number of children who argued with their mother more than once a week fell significantly. However, though the number of children reporting being bullied at school has remained stable over recent years, the number of children reporting high or very high happiness with friends fell significantly.

'Are they shouting because of me?': voices of children living in households with domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health issues

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report looks at life growing up under the 'toxic trio' of mental health, parental substance misuse, and domestic abuse. It presents findings from interviews with 15 children and young people in England about their experiences of living in households with these three issues, including how it affected their emotional wellbeing, school life and relationships with friends, and the ways in which they attempted to cope. Though the participants revealed the problems of living with high levels of tension and unpredictability at home, and about an evolving sense of shame and growing up quickly, they were also very clear about how much they loved and trusted their parents and the great lengths they went not to tell others for fear of being separated.

Kin and country: growing up as an armed forces child

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report presents findings from a survey of 40 children and young people in England on life in a military family. Participants discussed: relocation, and the impact of frequently moving home and school on their their friendships, family relationships and school work; deployment, and how the coped with parent absence; and support, including the interventions they found most helpful and what additional support they thought would help. Teachers, parents and members of the Armed Forces were also consulted. The report concludes with recommendations for the Ministry of Defence and the school system.

How school, family, and community protective factors can help youth who have experienced maltreatment

Wilkinson A and Lantos H
Bethesda, MD : Child Trends, 2018.
Children who experience abuse and neglect face a higher risk of engaging delinquency later in adolescence and criminal behaviour in young adulthood. This report explores this association further, investigating the role of individual characteristics and protective factors and trajectories in delinquent or criminal behaviour over time. It draws on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, from the United States, to examine the relationship between child maltreatment and delinquent or criminal behaviour, the protective factors that can decrease the risk, and variations by gender, race, and sexual orientation, from age 18-32. The findings show that people who experience maltreatment as children are more likely to engage in delinquent or criminal behaviour, for males in particular. Most delinquent or criminal behaviours take place in adolescence and drop significantly by adulthood, regardless of maltreatment status, and having a connection to school, a parental figure, or their neighbourhood has a protective effect, also regardless of maltreatment status, but in particular for preventing nonviolent delinquency among youth who experienced maltreatment. The findings have implications for designing interventions.

Adolescent help-seeking.

Gray S and Daraganova G
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2017. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018: 59-72
Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems during adolescence, many young people do not seek help for their problems. Using data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC), this chapter provides insights into young people's past help-seeking behaviours and future help-seeking intentions, focusing on who they go to for help. It also compares the behaviours and intentions of young people who are experiencing symptoms of mental health difficulties and young people who are not, and how behaviours and intentions change from age 10-11 to age 14-15. Differences by gender and sources of social support are also considered. The findings show that nearly all of the young people who reported having a personal or emotional problem did seek help, and 91% of the young people would seek help for problems in the future, whether that be from a formal, informal, or non-face-to-face source. Informal sources, such as family and friends, were the most common sources of help for young people, though turning to parents declined over time. Young people reporting higher levels of social support were more willing to seek help than those with low social support, whether through formal or informal help sources.

Relationships between parents and young teens.

Yu M and Baxter J
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2017. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018: 35-46
Family relationships remain central to children's lives during early adolescence, despite an increased focus on peers, and remain positive for many adolescents. This chapter explores the quality of adolescents' relationships with parents, in terms of their enjoyment in spending time with their parents, their closeness to their parents, who they talk to when they have a problem, and parents' reports of conflict with the child. It uses data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC), comparing young people at 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 years of age, and comparing findings by child gender, parent gender, socioeconomic status, puberty stage, and for one parent and step-families. The study finds that most young people held positive views about their relationships with their parents, though the quality of this relationship decreased slightly over time and varied slightly by gender. Though relatively low levels of conflict between children and parents were reported by parents, there were clear associations with the young people's reports of relationship quality. Note, this chapter has focused only on parent-child relationships within the household of the child's primary carer. Further research could consider relations with parents in a second household or the impact of family violence.

Who do adolescents spend their time with?

Baxter J
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2017. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018: 25-34
As children leave childhood and enter adolescence, the amount of time they spend with family members declines and and relationships with peers become more central to their lives. Using self-report time use diaries from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC), this chapter looks at changes in how children spend their time at ages 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15 years of age. It examines time spent with parent, with siblings, with other adults, at school, with other children, and alone, and when during the day this time is spent. The data show that the amount of time young people spend with their parents declines substantially between the ages of 10-11 and 14-15: the time spent with siblings also declines. Actually, the time spent with other peers does not increase significantly over this period: instead, there is a significant increase in the amount of time young people spend alone. The chapter also considers some of the family factors associated with time spent and who it is spent with, including child and parent gender, parents' working hours, one parent families, and number of siblings. Further research could consider connecting with others via social media use.

Adjustment of refugee children and adolescents in Australia : outcomes from wave three of the Building a New Life in Australia study.

Lau W, Silove D, Edwards B, Forbes D, Bryant R, McFarlane A, Hadzi-Pavlovic D, Steel Z, Nickerson A, Van Hooff M, Felmingham K, Cowlishaw S, Alkemade N, Karta D and O'Donnell M
BMC Medicine v. 16 2018: Article 157
This article examines how well refugee children and adolescents are adjusting to life in Australia. Caregivers of 694 refugee children aged 5-17 years old were asked about family structure and parenting style, local community and neighbourhood environment, and children's physical health and activity, school absenteeism and achievement, peer relations, and social and emotional adjustment, 2-3 years after arrival. Data was taken from Wave 3 of the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) study. The findings indicate the majority of these children and young people are adjusting well: however, implications for targeting prevention, screening and intervention efforts are also briefly discussed.

Impact of the Resilient Families intervention on adolescent antisocial behavior : 14-month follow-up within a randomized trial.

Shaykhi F, Ghayour-Minaie M and Toumbourou J
Children and Youth Services Review v. 93 Oct 2018: 484-491
Resilient Families is a school-based, universal family intervention that aims to address adolescent antisocial behaviour. This article reports on an evaluation of the intervention, featuring a sample of over 2,000 year 7 students. The evaluation investigated reductions in antisocial behaviour across the whole school and for adolescents whose parents attended the parent-education activities.

Surviving adolescents 2.0 : the must-have manual for all parents.

Carr-Gregg M and Robinson E
Melbourne, Vic. : Penguin Life, 2018.
This book offers parents advice on managing their children's transition from childhood to young adulthood. It includes strategies on effective communication, defusing family conflict, setting limits, keeping the stress of parenting at bay and avoiding common mistakes, and provides advice on issues including risk taking, sexuality, and home work. This edition updates and revised the original 2005 version.

Children and young people in separated families: family law system experiences and needs

Carson R, Dunstan E, Dunstan J and Roopani D
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
This report was commissioned to learn more about children and young people's experiences of the family law system during parental separation and how the system could better meet their needs. 61 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were interviewed, with 47 parents also helping with background information. The findings provide rich insights into the experiences and needs of children and young people, as well as the pathways used to resolve family law matters. Topics include: issues important to children and young people in making post-separation parenting arrangements, valued supports in dealing with parental separation, flexibility and changes in parenting arrangements, building post-separation relationships with parents, meaningful participation in decision making, experiences of the family law system, acknowledgement of their views and experiences, services that supported participation in decision making, and professional services and support considered effective by children and young people.

Relative/kinship and foster care: a comparison of carer and child characteristics.

Delfabbro P
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2017.
This report presents a new analysis of baseline data from the Pathways of Care longitudinal study (POCLS) of out of home care in New South Wales. It looks at the differences between foster care and kinship care, in terms of the characteristics, service needs and vulnerabilities of carers and the characteristics, wellbeing and outcomes of children who are placed into these types of care. The findings are discussed in the context of other research into out of home care. The findings highlight differences in the care environment that these children will grow up in, from their age, health, and finances of the carers to the style of parenting they exhibit. It also finds that children placed with grandparents tend to be faring better developmentally and in terms of their socio-emotional functioning: however, it is not possible to draw causal conclusions about the relationship between different types of care and child outcomes at this stage.

Interparental conflict and outcomes for children in the contexts of poverty and economic pressure

Acquah D
London : Early Intervention Foundation, 2017.
A previous study explored the impact of parents' relationships - regardless of whether they are together or separated - on children's outcomes. This report extends that study by investigating inter-parental conflict in the context of poverty and economic pressure. It summarises the latest research on what is known about the links between poverty, economic pressure, family processes, and child and adolescent development, then examines the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions implemented in the United Kingdom and overseas aimed at improving inter-parental relationships and outcomes for children from families in or at risk of poverty. The findings highlight how poverty and economic stress affect the quality of inter-parental relationships, which in turn impact on child outcomes. The report concludes with some recommendations for research, policy, and practice.

Longitudinal trajectories of mental health in Australian children aged 4-5 to 14-15 years.

Christensen D, Fahey M, Giallo R and Hancock K
PLoS ONE v. 12 no. 11 5 Jun 2017: e0187974
This article explores how children's mental health changes over time and into adolescence. Using parent-reported data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), it examines mental health symptoms from 4-5 to 14-15 years of age and associations with the key risk factors of child temperament, maternal mental health, maternal warmth and hostility, and socioeconomic status. The findings show that a range of independent factors contribute to children's mental health in the preschool years, and that these factors vary in their impact over time. With few exceptions, the interaction with time never completely ameliorates the initial gaps based on risk factor exposure. For example, differences in child mental health driven by education and neighbourhood disadvantage persist through to adolescence.

Role of positive parenting in the association between neighborhood social disadvantage and brain development across adolescence.

Whittle S, Vijayakumar N, Simmons J, Dennison M, Schwartz O, Pantelis C, Sheeber L, Byrne M and Allen N
JAMA Psychiatry v. 74 no. 8 2017: 824-832
This article investigates whether growing up in a disadvantaged neighbourhood has a negative effects on young people's brain development, and whether positive parenting provides a buffer. Data is taken from a longitudinal study held from 2004 to 2012 in Melbourne, Victoria, with participants aged 11 to 20 years old. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were undertaken in early, middle, and late adolescence, and data on parent and neighbourhood disadvantage were also collected, as well as observations of positive maternal parenting behaviours. The study finds that growing up in a disadvantaged neighbourhood may have negative effects on children's brain development, but for males, at least, positive parenting negated these effects.

Exploring children's perspectives of engagement with their carers using factor analysis.

Withington T, Duplock R, Burton J, Eivers A and Lonne B
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 63 Jan 2017: 41-50
Research shows that positive engagement between a child and their carer in out-of-home care has long-term benefits for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. This article investigates the factors that support or hinder this engagement, drawing on a survey of children and young people in out-of-home care in Queensland. 937 children aged 9?18 years old participated in the 'Views of Children and Young People in Foster Care 2009' survey, regarding their personal background, experiences of being in care, placement history, relationships with carers and child protection service providers, educational experience, and health and well-being. The findings of this survey provide insights into the concept of Child Engagement and its role in placement stability, disruption, and trajectory.

Negative reactivity and parental warmth in early adolescence and depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood.

Lloyd B, Macdonald J, Youssef G, Knight T, Letcher P, Sanson A and Olsson C
Australian Journal of Psychology v. 69 no. 2 Jun 2017: 121-129
Reactive temperaments - in particular with intense, frequent or excessive negative reactions - appear early in life and pose a risk for depressive symptoms. As there is evidence suggesting that relationships between negative reactivity and adolescent depressive symptoms may be moderated by parental warmth, this article explores this further with data from the Australian Temperament Project. It investigates risk and protective factors in early adolescence at age 13-14 years old and depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood at age 19-20 years old, with a particular interest in gender differences.

The effect of low parental warmth and low monitoring on disordered eating in mid-adolescence : findings from the Australian Temperament Project.

Krug I, King R, Youssef G, Sorabji A, Wertheim E, Le Grange D, Hughes E, Letcher P and Olsson C
Appetite v. 105 Oct 2016: 232-241
This article investigates whether parenting style is associated with eating disorders in adolescence. Using data from the Australian Temperament Project, for 1,300 children in Victoria, it compares low parental warmth and monitoring at 13-14 years old and later disordered eating attitudes and body dissatisfaction by 15-16 years old. The article discusses the findings and the differences among boys and girls.

ReachOut Parents: informing a new digital service for parents of teenagers in Australia

ReachOut Australia
Pyrmont, NSW : ReachOut Australia, 2016.
ReachOut Parents is a new digital service that aims to improve young people's mental health and wellbeing by supporting and informing their parents. It combines practical support and tips that encourage effective communication and relationships, easy-to-read information on a range of mental health and wellbeing issues, and a peer-to-peer forum for parents. This paper describes some of the research activities undertaken to inform the content and design of the service. Drawing on a literature review, focus groups and co-design workshops, and online survey of parents and young people, the project garnered information on how young people wanted their parents to help them, the issues parents wanted help with, how parents use technology when seeking help, how they wanted the support and advice presented to them, and barriers to help seeking.

The association of fly-in fly-out employment, family connectedness, parental presence and adolescent wellbeing.

Lester L, Watson J, Waters S and Cross D
Journal of Child and Family Studies v. 25 no. 12 Dec 2016: 3619-3626
When attachment to parents is disrupted by a parent working away from home, it can impact upon young people's mental and emotional well-being and feelings of connection to their family. This article explores this disruption in the context of fly-in fly-out employment, a widespread form of employment in Australia's industry boom regions. Drawing on survey of over 3,000 Grades 5?10 students from 40 metropolitan and rural schools in West Australia, the article investigates the mediation of parental presence and family connectedness on the association between fly-in fly-out employment and adolescent well-being. The findings indicate that the intermittent absence/presence of fly-in fly-out employment patterns create challenges for adolescents and highlights the importance of strengthening family connections in these households.

Parents in prevention : a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of parenting interventions to prevent internalizing problems in children from birth to age 18.

Yap M, Morgan A, Cairns K, Jorm A, Hetrick S and Merry S
Clinical Psychology Review v. 50 Dec 2016: 138-158
This meta-analysis investigates whether preventive interventions that are directed primarily at the parent are effective in reducing child internalising problems in the longer term. It examines the evidence on the impact of preventive parenting interventions a minimum of 6 months after the intervention was delivered.

Birth family contact for children and young people in out-of-home care: what does the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study tell us?

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family & Community Services, 2016.
Good quality contact between children in out of home care and their birth family is important for children's emotional and psychological wellbeing and their sense of identity. This paper outlines the experiences for children and young people in out of home care in New South Wales, including rates of contact, family members in contact, supervised contact, relationship quality, and issues reported, such as behaviour problems afterwards for the child or parents' not turning up. Considerations for case workers are also noted. Findings are taken from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study.

Carer parenting practices and children's relationships with their carer's family: what does the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study tell us?

New South Wales. Dept. of Family and Community Services
Ashfield, NSW : NSW Dept. of Family & Community Services, 2016.
This paper explores relationships and parenting practices in out of home care, highlighting findings from the Pathways of Care Longitudinal Study from New South Wales. It looks at carers' and children's views of parenting practices, parenting style, and parenting efficacy, as well as overall relationship quality with carer and relationship with other children in the household, for children aged from 9 months to 17 years old. Some practice resources to help case workers support parenting are also noted.
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