Sample Parenting Styles that Cause Anxiety in Adolescents

Parenting Styles that Cause Anxiety in Adolescents


Often overwhelmed by life’s demands, teenagers frequently lack the skills required to effectively maneuver the emotional challenges of adolescence (Akinsola &Udoka, 2013). A vast majority of teenagers undergoing the adolescent phase are typically affected by the emotional problems which influence their behavioral patterns. It is common for the affected adolescent to exhibit the rapid changes in his/her emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development. It is at this juncture in life that these teenagers need love and acceptance from the people who are closest to them. Since they are in search of their self-identity, it is necessary for their parents to guide them at every step. However, most of the teenagers turn to their peer adolescents from whom they seek acceptance and support. In other cases, adolescents may develop rebellious behaviors against their parents, mostly in cases where they feel that they are not loved or cared for by their parents. Their feeling of rejection by their parents negatively affects their self-esteem. This paper discusses as to how certain parenting styles cause anxiety among adolescents.

The adolescent phase is a daunting and challenging stage of life for the majority of teenagers. Most of the adolescents get emotionally stressed in their attempt to adapt to the biological changes within themselves, their increased responsibility as adolescents, and the consequent social relationship problems. The social network fluctuates at a fast pace, when the teenagers seek solace from their fellow adolescent peers. In order for the growing teenager to successfully maneuver through the adolescent phase, it is necessary for the parents to show their love and acceptance of their adolescent children.

The Parental Acceptance-Rejection Theory (PAR Theory) is an evidence-based theory of social behavior that attempts to analyze major antecedents, and correlates the consequences of parental acceptance and rejection within the United States, and the world at large. PAR Theory postulates that the children’s emotional and physiological states are dependent on the quality of their relationship with the figures whom they respect and admire (Rohner Khaleque & Cournoyer, 2005). Parental acceptance is thus a powerful motivator in children, for developing in them good and orderly behavior. In essence, parental acceptance has been associated with a myriad of positive outcomes such as the development of positive peer relationships in adolescents, socially accepted behavior, happiness, and overall psychological well-being (Rohner Khaleque & Cournoyer, 2005). Besides, children who receive positive acceptance tend to be more responsible and independent because they are assured of love and acceptance by the people closest to them.

On the other hand, parental rejection has been associated with a wide array of emotional, behavioral and psychological problems among adolescents (Akinsola &Udoka, 2013). This may eventually lead the adolescent to drug addiction, poor academic performance, low self-esteem, psychopath tendencies and strained social relationships. A vast majority of adolescent children would be characterized as vulnerable, because they have an intense desire for parental acceptance (Rohner Khaleque & Cournoyer, 2005). As a result of parental rejection, most adolescents would turn to their fellow peers for reassurance and emotional support (Rohner, Khaleque & Cournoyer, 2005).

Social anxiety in adolescents may also be attributed to one or both of the parents who suffer from social anxiety disorder. Aside from this, parental rejection in the form of neglect, abuse, and negative social conduct on their part has also been linked to a child in developing social anxiety disorder (Akinsola & Udoka, 2013). In essence, children and adolescents may experience social anxiety due to parental rejection amongst other emotional disorders. Nevertheless, there is some hope at the end of the tunnel since treatment for social anxiety conditions is now available. Psychodrama is recognized as the most effective treatment of disorders like depression, alcohol and drug addiction, anxiety or even grief (Akinsola & Udoka, 2013).

Psychodrama could therefore be used as an effective treatment for both the parents and their children. This could be because a parent who neglects or rejects the child could also be facing problems such as anxiety disorder, grief or depression. In conclusion, children who have been brought up under excessive authoritarian control are likely to develop the highest level of social anxiety as opposed to children who have been brought up under the permissive control of their parents (permissive/authoritarian hybrid). The children brought up under permissive/authoritarian parenting hybrid are reported to score the highest levels in performance anxiety. Permissive parenting style and its hybrid were found out to promote more anxiety in children as opposed to any other form of parenting style (Akinsola  & Udoka, 2013).




Rohner, R. P., Khaleque, A. & Cournoyer, D. E. (2005). Parental acceptance‐rejection: Theory, methods, cross‐cultural evidence, and implications. Ethos33 (3), 299-334.

Akinsola, E. F. & Udoka, P. A. (2013). Parental influence on social anxiety in children and adolescents: its assessment and management using psychodrama. Psychology4 (03),  246.