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The protective effects of good parenting on adolescents

DeVore, Elise Ra; Ginsburg, Kenneth Rb

Current Opinion in Pediatrics: August 2005 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 460-465
doi: 10.1097/01.mop.0000170514.27649.c9
Adolescent medicine

Purpose of review To explore recent developments in the literature regarding parenting practices and adolescent development, with a focus on parenting style, parental monitoring, communication, and supervision.

Recent findings There have been significant recent advances in the study of the relationship between parenting and adolescent development. Several recent intervention studies with a parenting component demonstrated immediate and long-term protective effects on adolescent risk behavior. Parent-child connectedness and authoritative parenting style are protective for teens. Parental monitoring has a protective effect on many adolescent risk behaviors in both middle-class populations and poor urban environments and has been shown both to moderate the effect of peer influence and to persist into late adolescence. Whereas unsupervised time, exposure to sexual possibility situations, and out-of-home care increase sexual behavior, improved parent-child communication reduces sexual risk behaviors.

Summary Recent scholarship demonstrates the significant, enduring, and protective influence of positive parenting practices on adolescent development. In particular, parental monitoring, open parent-child communication, supervision, and high quality of the parent-child relationship deter involvement in high-risk behavior. Authoritative parenting generally leads to the best outcomes for teens. Clinicians should find opportunities to discuss evidence-based parenting practices with families. Future research should focus on the development and long-term evaluation of effective parenting interventions.

aDivision of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston; Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and bThe Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Supported in part by the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health Project No. 5T71MC00009-13 from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title 5, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, United States Department of Health and Human Services

Correspondence to Elise R. DeVore, Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Tel: 617 355 7181; fax: 617 730 0184; e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.