How do mothers manage their privacy with adolescents? Exploring mother–adolescent communication in Mexican immigrant families

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The present study seeks to understand how Mexican immigrant mothers manage private information with adolescent children activating the state of emotional parentification. “Emotional parentificiation” occurs when there is a role reversal between parent and adolescent where the child is prematurely given adult responsibilities in the family and provides emotional support to parents. Sixteen Mexican immigrant mothers participated in individual interviews and as a result of the thematic analysis, three themes were identified: (1) adolescent children serving as a reluctant confidant, (2) adolescent children becoming a deliberate confidant, and (3) adolescent children employing confidant privacy rule strategies. Findings discussed mothers’ perspective of adolescent children coping with unsolicited private information from their mothers during parent–adolescent conversations where the adolescent children were put into a situation of being a reluctant confidant. Findings also demonstrated that some adolescent children became a deliberate confidant seeking information from their mothers. In reaction to mothers’ disclosure, the study identified three types of confidant privacy rule strategies used by adolescent children, that is, comforting, mediating, and protecting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Communication privacy management
  • emotional parentification
  • immigrant families
  • mother–child communication
  • role reversal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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