With so much often said and written about the alleged decline of the American family, it is instructive to note that not all young people would apparently agree. A new study of some 8,000 young people around the United States between the fifth and ninth grades, and their parents, finds that the youths have a generally positive view of themselves - and their families.
And although the study finds that adolescents tend gradually to turn to friends instead of parents when seeking advice as they get older, the role of parents does not diminish in one key area: long-term goals about what to do with one's life.
The study, undertaken by the Search Institute of Minneapolis, was sponsored by 13 groups, including 10 Protestant church groups, the National Catholic Education Association, the 4-H Clubs, and the National Association of Homes for Children.
The groups are meeting in Nashville this week to review the findings and determine how they might better aid young people.
The overall findings suggest that for most young people, the family remains a vital center of support - a place where parents and offspring put a great value on ensuring a sense of harmony and unity.