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Your teenage son is recording your advice, even if it doesn’t seem like it, a study says

A study published by researchers at the University of Illinois shows that even though teenagers seem to reject their parents’ advice about school, they still follow it in one way or another.

Does your child never listen to your advice? Do you feel like you’re speaking into a void? Don’t panic, they actually really listen to you. In any case these are the conclusions of the study” Academic challenges in early adolescence: Mothers’ advice and youth’s responses to advice » published in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology published May 23 by researchers at the University of Illinois.

Advice rejected and then listened to

This shows that mothers are often eager to give advice to their teenagers about their academic difficulties, but that their children do not seem receptive. In reality, those who don’t seem to listen to their parents actually take their advice into account.

The researchers examined the conversations between 100 final year high school students and their mothers on theirs academic difficulties. They then analyzed the strategies and advice provided by the mother and the child’s response. They then correlated these findings with how he performed after entering college the following year. An often difficult period in which they have to adapt to a new environment, both friendly and academic.

“We wanted to understand what was happening in conversations between parents and children. We focused on academic challenges such as difficulty understanding academic requirements, boredom in class, or time management problems because academic expectations and pressure begin to increase at this age. We wanted to know what parents tell their children about how to manage these stressors and how children respond. »

Kelly Tu, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and author of the study.


For this analysis, couples were asked to spend five minutes discussing an academic problem the child had recently encountered. The researchers found that mothers most often gave three different types of advice: cognitive reappraisal – suggest ways to reformulate the problem, consider other explanations, consider experiences as learning opportunities –, develop strategies – encourage young people to look for solutions – as well looking for help – find someone who can help them, such as a teacher, a parent or an older brother or sister.

Read also: “But why are you shouting so much? » When raising children is a source of tension

Children's responses ranged from unwavering agreement to ambiguous responses such as "maybe" or "I don't know."

And, surprisingly, overall, the researchers found that young people whose mothers had provided cognitive reappraisal advice had a greater ability to adjust to college. “ Even if they don't seem receptive at the moment, we see that some advice still has long-term benefits. ", he has declared Kelly Youauthor of the study.


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