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Parental Authority

This entry describes the concept of parental authority and the legitimacy of parental authority in the context of life-span human development. From conception, parents are entrusted with the responsibility to socialize children into adulthood; consequently, they have the legitimate authority to regulate their children’s and adolescents’ behavior. Society regulates the limits of parental authority. Beyond social regulations, the extent of parental authority is negotiated through the dynamic of parent-child relationships across the life span. For parents to exercise their authority, and to be effective in their socialization role, it is essential for children to accept the legitimacy of parental authority. However, as children grow into adolescence and young adulthood, the legitimacy of parental authority, and of authority itself, decreases. This process occurs gradually, as ...

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