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Like all institutions, the family is being challenged by changing times. The dialogue between parents and teen-agers dramatizes the encounter between what has been and what will be - and what is perennial.

What positions are parents taking in the '80s?

What does the present generation of teen-agers want?

How do the two generations perceive each other? Where do they agree? Where do they disagree?

The Monitor put these questions, and many others, to parents, teen-agers, teachers, and counselors from California to Massachusetts, with stops in between in the heartland of Illinois and Minnesota. There are a number of surprises in the answers, and considerable grounds for hope. The results are reported and evaluated in a three-part series beginning today.

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