Spending time with parents benefits teens

Teenagers benefit significantly from spending time with their parents, new research has suggested. Published in the journal Child Development, the study revealed youngsters often speak to their mothers and fathers when alone with them.

Susan McHale, a Professor of Human Development and Director of the Social Science Research Institute at the Pennsylvania State University, noted: "While adolescents become more separate from their families, they continue to have one-on-one opportunities to maintain close relationships with their parents."

Investigators pointed out the finding that parent-teen time - with nobody else present - increases in early and middle adolescence goes against the stereotype that youngsters grow apart from their mum and dad as they get older.

It was also shown that teens who spend a lot of time alone with their fathers have better general self-worth, while those who hang around with their dad in the company of others often have improved social skills when it comes to conversing with peers.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Hugh Koch comments:

"Primary care giving which includes day to day time together, by either or both parents is crucial. The teenager learns a number of skills including social behaviour, altruism, conflict resolution (or attempts at!), self-disclosure and general problem solving on both a practical and emotional level. If the teenager also sees parents dealing with everyday events, 80 per cent successfully and 20 per cent failing, this enhances the teenagers resilience to do the same. Families come in different shapes and sizes but time spent together is invaluable for the teenagers self esteem and well-being."