The topic I chose is Obedience. Obedience is defined as, “Acting in accord with a direct order or command. ” (Myers, 2013,188). In my research the term compliance may also come up. Compliance is defined as, “Conformity that involves publicly acting in accord with an implied or explicit request while privately disagreeing. ” (Myers, 2013,188). The words conformity and acceptance may also be brought up. Conformity is defined as, “A change in behavior or belief as the result of a real or imagined group pressure. ” (Myers, 2013,188).
Acceptance is, “Conformity that involves both acting and believing in accord with social pressure. ” (Myers, 2013,188). My research question is “how does obedience play a role in parenting situations? ” This is a particularly interesting topic to me. I want to learn more about how parenting and the use of obedience and conformity affects a child in adolescence and even into adulthood. This is important because our ability to properly obey and learn to conform at an early age can greatly affect the rest of our lives.
I used the PsychINFO and searched “obedience AND Parental” | chose the article Adolescents’ as active agents in the socialization process: Legitimacy of parental authority and obligation to obey as predictors of obedience from the journal of adolescence. The purpose of this article is to show the relationship between parental monitoring and how well an adolescent obeys the rules of the parents. This article is experimental. There are three specific questions addressed in the article.
To what extent is obedience a global characteristic that varies across adolescents and to what extent does individual adolescents’ obedience vary across issues? Do parental monitoring, rules, and rule enforcement predict adolescent obedience? Do adolescents’ internal standards of behavior (agreement with parents) and their beliefs about their parents’ right to set rules (legitimacy of parental authority) and their own obligation to obey parent’s standards when they disagree predict obedience over and above parental monitoring, rules, and rule enforcement?
The questions are to help predict which adolescents are more or less obedient from global characteristics of the parents and the adolescents’ beliefs about the rules enforced by the parents, the legitimacy of the authority and how obligated the adolescent is to obey the rules. One of the biggest factors of this article is the legitimacy of parental authority. The legitimacy of authority means how the parents’ control over a certain aspect of life is appropriate to their role as a parent. Some examples are safety rules like don’t drink and drive, don’t smoke and moral standards like, don’t gossip, don’t steal, respect others, etc.
Adolescents and parents see some things in life as out of the control of parents such as, who they are friends with, and what their extra curricular activities are. Previous studies show that adolescents have a higher obligation to obey when the rules are within the legitimate realm of authority (Smetana, 1988b). Although most adolescents agree that there are some things out of the parents control, the percentages do vary in different countries. In Hong Kong, 76% of a sample of adolescents said that there are some things out of a parents’ control (Yau & Smetana, 1996).
In the United States, only 69% of pre adolescents and 82% of late adolescents placed personal issues outside the reach of the parents’ control (Smentana, 1988a). There is a considerable difference in legitimacy beliefs among different age groups as shown in the numbers I just mentioned. This is due to a moral obligation to do what your parents say and parents still have a very active role in who a child hangs out with and what they do with their free time (Darling, Cumsille, & Pena-Alampay,2005).
In a recent study from Cumsille, Darling, Flaherty, & Martinez, 2006 they explained that there are three patterns of beliefs about the legitimacy of authority. In the first, adolescents are likely to grant parents legitimate authority over personal issues such as friends and extra curricular activities and prudential issues, such as, smoking, drinking and using drugs. In the second pattern, adolescents tend to deny parents the right to authority over all issues. In the third, adolescents tend to grant parents authority over prudential issues but deny them authority over personal ones.
Adolescents obligation to obey rules when their parents are around rely on both the adolescent’s internal standard of behavior and their beliefs about their parent’s authority. If an adolescent believes the parent won’t find out, they are more likely to disobey. Also the parents’ lack of punishment in earlier situations where a rule was broken. The hypothesis in this article is, Adolescents who agree with parents about issues, who believe that parents have legitimate authority, and who feel obligated to obey in spite of disagreement, will also be more likely to obey, controlling for parenting.
For this experiment, adolescents and parents from Chile were chosen. These families are predominantly Catholic and are more conservative than the United States or Europe. In this experiment sixth through twelfth grade students were recruited to take part of the survey. The families were chosen from different socioeconomic classes, and different schools (public and private). Information was mailed out to all the students. The families were given written information about the study’s purpose and procedures.
After the packets were returned signed saying that the parents’ agreed to the study, students received a questionnaire to fill out in their classrooms. After that questionnaire packets were sent home to the family for one parent to fill out. The adolescents were in charge of returning the completed packets into school in sealed envelopes. 49% of parent surveys were returned. Adolescents and their parents provided information on demographic background attitudes toward school, psychosocial well-being, and problem behaviors.
Students were to answer six questions and parents three about each of 18 different issues. The issues were chosen from the most common sources of parentadolescent conflict situations. The data indicated higher numbers of rules and higher proportions of adolescents granting legitimacy of parental authority and reporting an obligation to obey on safety or prudential behaviors. As expected in the hypothesis, adolescents surrendered to parental authority and reported an obligation to obey over personal issues.
The adolescents showed the lowest agreement with their parents over safety related issues. These particular adolescents were also influenced by the legitimacy of the punishment they may or may not receive. The results show that there is a considerable difference in how obedient adolescents are and how obedient the same adolescent is across the board. This study shows that adolescents’ internal standard of behavior and beliefs about authority and their own obligation to obey are important determinants in which they conform their behavior.