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Adolescent crisis as rite of passage : an exploratory study of multigenerational themes Shatzky, Lisa Joy


There is a tremendous amount of literature on the nature of adolescence, as well as the problems and dilemmas specific to this age group. There is relatively very little written about parents' own experiences with an adolescent child, how they experience the child separating from the family and eventually leaving home. The following study is an exploratory one. Using a qualitative design, the study sets out with two fundamental purposes; (1) to understand parents' experiences of adolescence and (2) to understand the use of rituals during adolescence, particularly with regard to themes that may be present within the rituals. Fifteen couples (mothers and fathers) who have had children leave the family home, were interviewed for approximately two hours. The interviews followed a general interview guide, and were audiotaped. The findings indicate that there are an abundance of rituals parents use to mark the transition from childhood to adolescence as well as recognize the change when adolescents and/or young adults leave the family home. Another finding is that parents honor the past and play out themes from their families of origin within the rituals with their own children.

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