Parent-child relations and parenting behaviors with children at the age of 13 and 16: Individuation or detachment?

J. Gowert Masche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


According to Individuation Theory, adolescents become more and more autonomous while the level of parent-adolescent connectedness is constant. However, connectedness is hypothesized to attain a more reciprocal, peer-like quality. These assumptions were tested using a sample of 968 students of ages 13 and 16 The sample was quite representative with respect to the various German school tracks. Besides effects of age on the relationship, corresponding age differences in the levels of authoritative parenting (affection, behavior control, and psychological autonomy granting) were investigated. At age 16, adolescents claimed more autonomy from parents, and parents had less knowledge of their offspring's life. The parent-adolescent connectedness remained fairly constant across age, that is, it did not change towards reciprocity. Older participants experienced less paternal support than younger subjects. With age, parental behavior control decreased. Fathers also were less affective with increasing age of participants. The father-adolescent relationship was less close than the mother-adolescent relationship, especially for girls. Furthermore, school track differences were revealed. The results are discussed with respect to Individuation Theory and notions of detachment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages15
JournalZeitschrift für Soziologie der Erziehung und Sozialisation / Journal for Sociology of Education and Socialization
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Psychology (501)


  • adolescence
  • authoritative parenting
  • detachment
  • individuation
  • parent-child relations
  • parenting behaviors
  • parenting style


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