Study shows US teenagers as helpful, willing to help parents

February 7th, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 7 (IANS) US teenagers are perceived as selfish, amoral and in denial mode, compared to their peers from other cultures, but a new study suggests otherwise.The study by the universities of Rochester, Missouri-Columbia and Illinois-Chicago examined how teens and their parents feel about young people’s obligations to help each other when requests for help clash with personal desires.

The researchers looked at almost 120 seventh and 10th graders from lower-middle to middle-class families and their parents. They asked them to react to stories in which either parents or teens asked for help, then judge what the protagonist should do and whether it was okay to say no due to personal desires.

The study found that teens don’t always act out of personal desire or selfishness, but feel relatively obligated to help their parents, even when the requests are small.

Surprisingly, parents think it’s more acceptable for teens to say no when personal desires conflict than do the teens themselves.

Adolescents and parents appear to balance and coordinate family members’ requests for help with conflicting personal desires, and to consider both the family role of the person asking for help and how much help is needed, said a Rochester release.

More parents of 10th graders said it was selfish to ignore requests for help and satisfy personal desires in situations when the needs were big than did parents of seventh graders.

The study was published in January-February issue of Child Development.

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