Although it is known that parents and adolescents hold different views regarding adolescent characteristics (e.g., inter-rater agreement on adolescent behaviors between parents and adolescents is low), we know little about parent-adolescent (dis)agreement in their perceptions of parenting. The current study used 220 parent-adolescent dyads (M age = 13.3 years; 50.5 % female) to address this gap and examined how the discrepancy between parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of the parent’s negative reactions toward an adolescent’s anger affects the adolescent’s problem behaviors. Results suggested the direction of the disagreement between the two parties is important: when adolescents viewed parenting more negatively than parents did, adolescents showed elevated levels of broadband externalizing behaviors and, specifically, aggressive behaviors. This finding suggests the importance of adolescents’ subjective views of how mothers and fathers react to them. The findings are discussed in terms of methodology in family studies and implications toward future research.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Achenbach, T. M. (1991a). Manual for the child behavior checklist/4-18 and 1991 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
Achenbach, T. (1991b). Manual for the Youth Self-Report and 1991 Profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
Achenbach, T. M. (2011). Commentary: Definitely more than measurement error: But how should we understand and deal with informant discrepancies? Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 40(1), 80–86. doi:10.1080/15374416.2011.533416.
Achenbach, T. M., McConaughy, S. H., & Howell, C. T. (1987). Child/adolescent behavioral and emotional problems: Implications of cross-informant correlations for situational specificity. Psychological Bulletin, 101(2), 213–232.
Brand, A. E., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2010). Emotion socialization in adolescence: The role of mothers and fathers. In A. Kennedy Root, & S. Denham (Eds.), The role of gender in the socialization of emotion: Key concepts and critical issues. New directions for child and adolescent deelopment (pp. 85–100). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Vol. 128.
Bronte-Tinkew, J., Moore, K. A., & Carrano, J. (2006). The father-child relationship, parenting sytles, and adolescent risk behaviors in in-tact families. Journal of Family Issues, 27(6), 850–881.
Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 63(3), 452–459.
Clarke-Stewart, K. A., Allhusen, V. D., McDowell, D. J., Thelen, L., & Call, J. D. (2003). Identifying psychological problems in young children: How do mothers compare with child psychiatrists? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 23(6), 589–624. doi:10.1016/s0193-3973(03)00006-6.
Crick, N. R., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2003). The development of psychopathology in females and males: Current progress and future challenges. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 719–742. doi: 10.1017.S095457940300035X.
Crosswhite, J. M., & Kerpelman, J. L. (2009). Coercion theory, self-control, and social information processing: Understanding potential mediators for how parents influence deviant behaviors. Deviant Behavior, 30(7), 611–646. doi:10.1080/01639620802589806.
Crum, K. I., Waschbusch, D. A., Bagner, D. M., & Coxe, S. (2015). Effects of callous-unemotional traits on the association between parenting and child conduct problems. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 46(6), 1–14. doi:10.1007/s10578-015-0535-1.
De Los Reyes, A., Augenstein, T. M., Wang, M., Thomas, S. A., Drabick, D. A. G., Burgers, D. E., & Rabinowitz, J. (2015). The validity of the multi-informant approach to assessing child and adolescent mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 141(4). doi: 10.1037/a0038498.
De Los Reyes, A., Goodman, K. L., Kliewer, W., & Reid-Quiñones, K. (2010). The longitudinal consistency of mother-child reporting discrepancies of parental monitoring and their ability to predict child delinquent behaviors two years later. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(12), 1417–1430. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9496-7.
De Los Reyes, A., Henry, D. B., Tolan, P. H., & Wakschlag, L. S. (2009). Linking informant discrepancies to observed variations in young children’s disruptive behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(5), 637–652. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9307-3.
De Los Reyes, A., & Kazdin, A. E. (2005). Informant discrepancies in the assessment of childhood psychopathology: A critical review, theoretical framework, and recommendations for further study. Psychological Bulletin, 131(4), 483–509. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.131.4.483.
De Los Reyes, A. & Ohannessian, C. M. (2016). Introduction to the special issue: Discrepancies in adolescent-parent perceptions of the family and adolescent adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(10). doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0533-z.
De Los Reyes, A., Salas, S., Menzer, M. M., & Daruwala, S. E. (2013). Criterion validity of interpreting scores from multi-informant statistical interactions as measures of informant discrepancies in psychological assessments of children and adolescents. Psychological Assessment, 25(2), 509–519. doi:10.1037/a0032081.
De Los Reyes, A., Youngstrom, E. A., Pabon, S. C., Youngstrom, J. K., Feeny, N. C., & Findling, R. L. (2011). Internal consistency and associated characteristics of informant discrepancies in clinic referred youths age 11 to 17 years. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 40(1), 36–53. doi:10.1080/15374416.2011.533402.
Defoe, I. N., Farrington, D. P., & Loeber, R. (2013). Disentangling the relationship between delinquency and hyperactivity, low achievement, depression, and low socioeconomic status: Analysis of repeated longitudinal data. Journal of Criminal Justice, 41(2), 100–107. doi:10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2012.12.002.
Fanti, K. A., Henrich, C. C., Brookmeyer, K. A., & Kuperminc, G. P. (2008). Toward a transactional model of parent-adolescent relationship quality and adolescent psychological adjustment. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 28(2), 252–276.
Feinberg, M., Howe, G., Reiss, D., & Hetherington, E. M. (2000). Relationship between perceptual differences of parenting and adolescent antisocial behavior and depressive symptoms. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 531–555. doi:10.1037/0893-3188.8.131.521.
Fleming, C. B., Mason, W. A., Thompson, R. W., Haggerty, K. P., & Gross, T. J. (2015). Child and parent report of parenting as predictors of substance use and suspensions from school. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 36(5), 625–645. doi:10.1177/0272431615574886.
Garside, R. B., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2002). Socialization of discrete negative emotions: Gender differences and links with psychological distress. Sex Roles, 47(3/4), 115–128.
Ge, X., Brody, G. H., Conger, R. D., & Simons, R. L. (2006). Pubertal maturation and African American children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(4), 528–537. doi:10.1007/s10964-006-9046-5.
Guion, K., Mrug, S., & Windle, M. (2009). Predictive value of informant discrepancies in reports of parenting: Relations to early adolescents’ adjustment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(1), 17–30. doi:10.1007/s10802-008-9253-5.
Hoeve, M., Dubas, J. S., Eichelsheim, V. I., van der Laan, P. H., Smeenk, W., & Gerris, J. R. (2009). The relationship between parenting and delinquency: A meta-analysis. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(6), 749–775. doi:10.1007/s10802-009-9310-8.
Holmbeck, G. N. & O'Donnell, K. (1991) Discrepancies between perceptions of decision making and behavioral autonomy. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1991(51), 51–69. doi:10.1002/cd.23219915105.
Hoskins, D. H. (2014). Consequences of parenting on adolescent outcomes. Societies, 4, 506–531. doi:10.3390/soc4030506.
Kendler, K. S., Sham, P. C., & MacLean, C. J. (1997). The determinants of parenting: An epidemiological, multi-informant, retrospective study. Psychological Medicine, 27, 549–563.
Klahr, A. M., Klump, K. L., & Burt, S. A. (2014). The Etiology of the Association Between child antisocial behavior and maternal negativity varies across aggressive and non-aggressive rule-breaking forms of antisocial behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. doi:10.1007/s10802-014-9886-5.
Klimes-Dougan, B., Brand, A. E., Zahn-Waxler, C., Usher, B., Hastings, P., Kendziora, K., & Garside, R. B. (2007). Parental emotion socialization in adolescence: Sex, age, and risk differences. Social Development, 16, 326–342.
Klimes-Dougan, B., Hastings, P. D., Granger, D. A., Usher, B. A., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2001). Adrenocortical activity in at-risk and normally developing adolescents: Individual differences in salivary cortisol basal levels, diurnal variation, and responses to social challenges. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 695–719.
Korelitz, K. E., & Garber, J. (2016). Congruence of parents’ and children’s perceptions of parenting: A meta-analysis. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(10), 1973–1995.
Kraemer, H. C., Measelle, J. R., Ablow, J. C., Essex, M. J., Boyce, W. T., & Kupfer, D. J. (2003). A new approach to integrating data from multiple informants in psychiatric assessment and research: Mixing and matching contexts and perspectives. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160, 1566–1577.
Lamb, M. E., & Tamis-Lemonada, C. S. (2004). The role of the father: An introduction. 4th edn. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Lavigne, J. V., Dahl, K. P., Gouze, K. R., LeBailly, S. A., & Hopkins, J. (2014). Multi-domain predictors of oppositional defiant disorder symptoms in preschool children: Cross-informant differences. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1–12. doi: 10.1007/s10578-014-0472-4.
Mackenbach, J. D., Ringoot, A. P., van der Ende, J., Verhulst, F. C., Jaddoe, V. W., & Hofman, A., et al. (2014). Exploring the relation of harsh parental discipline with child emotional and behavioral problems by using multiple informants. The generation R study. PLoS One, 9(8), 1–9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104793.
Marceau, K., Zahn-Waxler, C., Shirtcliff, E. A., Schreiber, J. E., Hastings, P., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2015). Adolescents’, mothers’, and fathers’ gendered coping strategies during conflict: Youth and parent influences on conflict resolution and psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 1025–1044. doi:10.1017/S0954579415000668.
McLaughlin, K. A., Costello, E. J., Leblanc, W., Sampson, N. A., & Kessler, R. C. (2012). Socioeconomic status and adolescent mental disorders. American Journal of Public Health, 102(9), 1742–1750.
Moffitt, T. E. (1993). Adolescent-limited and life-course-persistent antisocial behavior: A developmental taxonomy. Psychological Review, 100(4), 674–701.
Negriff, S., & Susman, E. J. (2011). Pubertal timing, depression, and externalizing problems: A framework, review, and examination of gender differences. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21(3), 717–746. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00708.x.
O’Connoll, M. (1993). Where’s papa? Fathers’ role in child care. Popular Trends and Public Policy, 20, 4–25.
O’Neal, C., & Magai, C. (2005). Do parents respond in different ways when children feel different emotions? The emotional context of parenting. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 467–487.
Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2008). ‘My mom makes me so angry!’ Adolescent perceptions of mother-child interactions as correlates of adolescent emotions. Social Development, 17(2), 306–325.
Patterson, G. R., DeBaryshe, B., & Ramsey, E. (1990). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist, 44, 329–335.
Reidler, E., & Swenson, L. (2012). Discrepancies between youth and mothers’ perceptions of their mother-child relationship quality and self-disclosure: Implications for youth- and mother-reported youth adjustment. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 41(9), 1151–1167.
Shulman, S., & Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2016). Fathers and adolescents: Developmental and clinical perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.
Snyder, J., Stoolmiller, M., Wilson, M., & Yamamoto, M. (2003). Child anger regulation, parental responses to children’s anger displays, and early child antisocial behavior. Social Development, 12(3), 335–360.
Spilt, J. L., Van Lier, P. A., Branje, S. J., Meeus, W., & Koot, H. M. (2014). Discrepancies in perceptions of close relationships of young adolescents: A risk for psychopathology?. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi:10.1007/s10964-014-0234-4.
Squeglia, L. M., Jacobus, J., Nguyen-Louie, T. T., & Tapert, S. F. (2014). Inhibition during early adolescence predicts alcohol and marijuana use by late adolescence. Neuropsychology, 28(5), 782–790.
Tilton-Weaver, L., Kerr, M., Pakalniskeine, V., Tokic, A., Salihovic, S., & Stattin, H. (2010). Open up or close down: How do parental reactions affect youth information management?. Journal of Adolescence, 33(2), 333–346.
Treutler, C. M., & Epkins, C. C. (2003). Are discrepancies among child, mother, and father reports on children’s behavior related to parents’ psychological symptoms and aspects of parent–child relationships?. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31(1), 13–27.
Weinstein, A., & Dannon, P. (2015). Is impulsivity a male trait rather than female trait? exploring the sex difference in impulsivity. Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports. doi:10.1007/s40473-015-0031-8.
White, R., & Renk, K. (2012). Externalizing behavior problems during adolescence: An ecological perspective. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 21(1), 158–171. doi:10.1007/s10826-011-9459-y.
This study is an archival study that was funded by the Section on Developmental Psychopathology (directed by Carolyn Zahn-Waxler) in the Child Psychiatry Branch of Intramural Research Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. The referenced protocol is 1 Z01 MH002775 Adolescence: Anxiety, Mood and Behavior Disorders (referred to elsewhere as The Role of Emotion in the Development of Psychopathology in Adolescence or the Adolescent Emotion Study—Protocol #97-M-0116; PIs Bonnie Klimes-Dougan and Carolyn Zahn-Waxler). We thank the youths and their parents who willingly participated in this investigation. We are indebted to the significant contributions of Barbara Usher and Kimberly Kendziora, as well as the diligent efforts of numerous fellows, interns, research assistants and volunteers who have contributed so much to the implementation of this project. We would also like to extend our gratefulness to Drs. Tuppett Yates, Cecilia Cheung, and Minako Deno for their insightful and valuable feedback on this manuscript. Finally, we have great appreciation for Danielle Samuels’ and Sofia Stepanyan’s continual comments on all versions of the article.
LMD conceived of the current study, performed the statistical analyses, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript. MNN participated in the study’s design, interpreted data, and helped to draft and critically revise the manuscript. PH participated in the design and coordination of the larger study. CZW conceived of the larger study and managed and interpreted the data. BKD conceived of the larger study and participated in the coordination of participants. PH, CZW, and BKD provided critical feedback on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent and assent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
About this article
Cite this article
Dimler, L.M., Natsuaki, M.N., Hastings, P.D. et al. Parenting Effects are in the Eye of the Beholder: Parent-Adolescent Differences in Perceptions Affects Adolescent Problem Behaviors. J Youth Adolescence 46, 1076–1088 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0612-1
- Perceived parenting
- Adolescent problem behaviors
- Inter-rater agreement