Intergenerational transmission of experiences in adolescence: The challenges in parenting adolescents

Miri Scharf, Shmuel Shulman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Abstract: The chapter focuses on the nature of intergenerational transmission of parenting during adolescence, namely how parents' past experiences with their own parents in adolescence are related to their parenting of their adolescents. This issue was examined in relation to attachment theory and psychoanalytic conceptualizations. Five case studies from a research project that included seventy 15-year-old adolescents (35 girls) and their parents are presented. Parents were interviewed with regard to their experiences in adolescence and their representations with regards to their relationship with their adolescent offspring. Adolescents were interviewed about their relationships with both parents. The case studies involve narratives of parents with favorable and difficult experiences and describe parents who have and have not resolved their difficult experiences. The cases presented demonstrate the powerful grip of experiences in one's family of origin, revealing that the past continues to play an active role in present life. It also demonstrates how parents try to correct and undo their past, in many cases unsuccessfully. It is argued that the ability to achieve flexible and integrative reflection of the past enables people to accept the imperfection of their parents, themselves, and their children, to relinquish the need to fulfill longed-for wishes, and paves the way to breaking the intergenerational transmission of adverse parenting, large body of research and theoretical conceptualizations has been devoted to the study of developmental processes in adolescence, focusing mainly on the challenges experienced by the adolescents and their social context.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParenting Representations
Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research, and Clinical Implications
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Electronic)9780511499869
ISBN (Print)0521828872, 9780521828871
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Ofra Mayseless 2006 and Cambridge University Press 2009.


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