Psychology of Restrictions [Teen Article]

Rachel is a 16-year-old born and raised in NYC.  She enjoys singing, debating, travelling and writing.  Her favorite subjects are English and Science; she wishes to pursue  a career in either of them in the future.

“Since your GPA went down, no more cell when you’re doing homework.  Put it on the counter now…” This was my situation with my parents recently.  Like any other teenager, I was not only angry, but frustrated.  It was not the fact I had to give up my cell, rather that my parents demanded it from me instead of asking it.  It even made me want to rebel.  Is that the case for other ‘delinquent’ teens?  What if the cause of most teenaged rebelling was rooted back to how a situation was handled?

There are three types of parents: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive (Frick-Horbury, 2001).  Authoritarian parents are commanding, believes in harsh punishments and plenty of restrictions.  In fact, American teens have “ten times as many restrictions as mainstream adults, two times as many as active duty U.S. Marines, and even two times as many as incarcerated felons” (Marano, 2007).  These strict boundaries from authoritarian parents can cause the youth to become belligerent, irate and insecure (Frick-Horbury, 2001).  “I would go to my parents more often for constructive criticism if they don’t always dictate what I should or should not do,” N. Joeng, sophomore.

Dictator…you heard it before during some fights with your teen.  Sometimes after these arguments, you might chalk up the rebelling to be an inevitable ‘phase’.  However, being a ‘dictator’ may cause the lack of communication between parent and child, even possibly encourage mutiny (Mahoney, 2009).  Infantilization can be the cause of most of the rebelling (Marano, 2007).  Infantilization is a term which is more commonly known as “babying”.  Most teens are expected to act like adults, scolded when we do not, though are still treated as children.

Permissive parenting can also be quite harmful to your child as well.  A permissive parent is very lenient, and has inconsistent punishment methods (Frick-Horbury, 2001).  A child to a parent like this would likely lack maturity and restraint.  He/she would be incredibly independent, displaying a lack of a close relationship with their parent which could cause intimacy problems later in life (Frick-Horbury, 2001).

“Most parents’ restrictions are to protect you; it shows how much they care,” Y. Bao, BHS junior.  True, parents only want the best for their kids, and teens do already have many freedoms, but it is not more freedom we need, rather to be treated like we were an adult (Marano, 2007).  Freedom without responsibility can cause chaos. Au contraire, responsibility without freedom can cause MORE conflicts in your household because there would still be Infantilization and no benefit for your teen; “people who can’t pass a high school history test will never give up trying to past the written test for the DMV” (Marano, 2007).   This is because your teen will never stop trying to get not more freedom, but equal treatment to an adult.  Your teen will get through the trials if the reward is of parity.

“As you get older, you would need to learn some lessons on your own.  You won’t always be there for your kids. Ease the rules slowly as they get older.  Trust you did a good job in raising them.  Just remember, communication is key,” Kimberly Eng, St. Francis Prep senior.  Kelly Mahoney had experience with mental health counseling and working with disturbed teens and agrees.  “Being open with your kids can open lines of communication and respect.” Still worried about letting your teen go little by little?  Well, in Psychology Today, they did a test for adults and teens based off of what makes an adult and found that teens are or nearly as capable as adults in the 14 areas of teaching.

So do not worry: we’re smart.  Remember that you DID do a good job in raising us and that though we may soon grow up and move out, we’ll always have you to thank for making us who we are.

Works Cited

Brown, S., Sessions, J., & Taylor, K. (2004). What Will I Be When I Grow Up? An Analysis of Childhood Expectations and Career Outcomes. Leicester: Department of Economics, University of Leicester.

Frick-Horbury, D. (2001). The Effects of Parenting Styles and Childhood Attachment Patterns on Intimate Relationships. Journal of Instructional Psychology.

Mahoney, K. (2009). Top 7 Ways to Be an Effective Parent. Retrieved April 8, 2009, from

Marano, H. E. (2007, May 29). Trashing Teens. Psychology Today Magazine , pp. 2-4.

3 Responses to “Psychology of Restrictions [Teen Article]”

  1. Bob Collier
    November 18, 2009 at 8:56 pm #

    “There are three types of parents: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive (Frick-Horbury, 2001). ”

    That kind of simplistic rubbish is for people who think like five year olds.

  2. cutegirl_266
    December 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

    i am going to show this to my parents & explain this to them


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