Parental Attitude And Self-Diclosure Of A Teenager’s Abilities


This paper overviews research into modern adolescents’ development and analyzes how the verbalization of information about oneself affects the objective existing biological and social processes such as the increase in dopamine as a primary reward, and self-image of abilities with respect to one’s abilities for further professionalization, which demonstrates the importance of the I-text for the person; the paper also dwells upon other aspects of the importance of self-understanding for adolescents’ development. This research is based on the self-realization of abilities as a concept. Self-disclosure is defined herein as an adolescent’s internal monolog with themselves that reveals their potential for themselves. The authors investigate how adolescents’ academic performance, the fulfilment of fundamental motivations (existential fulfilment), and metacognitive abilities correlate with parental attitudes. A group of adolescents (N=156) was split into two subgroups: positive self-realization (SR1) and no self-realization (SR0). The researchers further classified the parental attitudes and retrieved several resulting variables: academic performance, existential fulfilment, the level of metacognitive abilities and reflection. Parental attitudes turned out to be an important factor of self-realization. Maternal attitude was concluded to be more important. This trend was most pronounced in the correlation between positive maternal attitude and the fulfilment of the first fundamental motivation (trust) in both subgroups. SE1 adolescents’ results correlated better with positive maternal attitude. Fathers were found to affect the self-realization of abilities and the child’s development as well, albeit to a lesser extent. Fathers’ positive interest did correlate with a number of their adolescent children’s metacognitive abilities.

Keywords: Self-disclosure, adolescents, parental attitude, metacognitive abilities, fundamental motivations


Parent-child relationships have long been an attention-worthy subject, yet now they are facing a substantial transformation. IT, electronics, and digital tech have caused shifts in the maturation of children today; as such, they do affect parent-child communication and relationships. Mass culture and its associated values are automatically absorbed by, and instilled in, today’s adolescent generation to an ever-greater extent, whilst discussing these new experiences and conclusions with the parents is an ever-rarer phenomenon.

A destructive trend that plagues families today is the unnerving choice between family and work (career). Families have ever less time for intrafamily dialog, and parents therefore fail to understand the change in their children’s interests, ignoring them as a result. Divorce and remarriage rates are rising, further complicating parent-child relationships and contributing to the uncertainty of the environment where the adolescent will have to grow up and mature as a person (Avdeyeva & Hoffman, 2019; Filippova, 1998; Polivanova, 2015).

Neufeld writes that the important attachment to parents is replaced by a destructive attachment to peers, which often compromises an adolescent’s self-respect, as their peers do not enable the emergence of a positive self-image, a positive self-concept. Research of adolescent communication reveals a high level of aggression, deprecation, non-acceptance, and competition among adolescents; with no targeted social upbringing, adolescents easily adopt law-of-the-jungle values (Neufeld & Gabor, 2018).

These compromises and distorts adolescents’ instincts, making them hostile to their parents whilst creating a stronger inter-peer bond through mimicry (Neufeld & Gabor, 2018). Vartanova’s (2004) research has shown that more than 88% of adolescents hold a negative image of their parents. This jeopardizes the primary identity—identification with the family. The phenomenon can be seen as the degradation of the important part of the self, resulting in self-deprecation.

Problem Statement

Psychological contact and profound relationships with the family might help an adolescent grow up into a mature and happy person. However, it’s important to understand what types of parent-child relationships are more beneficial, and to test this hypothesis empirically, i.e. to deduce from field data what kind of consequences this or that type of parental behavior might have.

Research Questions

A person’s self-image, self-theory involving self-esteem is referred to as self-concept, which develops during adolescence and becomes both the foundation and the source of self-actualization (Burns, 1986). Self-concept contains multiple components, including the self-image of the person’s abilities. If an adolescent’s self-image includes that of specific abilities like drawing, aircraft modeling, singing, etc., it can contribute to their career and lifestyle choices. Self-disclosure is defined herein an internal monolog that helps the person to identify themselves as one having specific abilities, which is then reflected in the self-concept (Chernyavskaya, 2018). Self-disclosure is an understudied subject that we believe has an important heuristic aspect to it. Parent-assisted self-disclosure develops in early ontogenesis. Adolescence then sees self-disclosure being aligned with the rest of the self-concept; a process accompanied by appeal to the internalized parent. This, in the end, either remains a part of personality or undergoes further transformations induced by mastering new skills. Further research is based on the analysis of adolescent-involving coaching sessions, conversations, and surveys regarding their abilities. It is extremely important to give adolescents space for self-examination, to enable them to talk about themselves and their abilities. Neuropsychological research suggests that verbalizing the information about oneself is both significant and valuable for a person. When a person talks about themselves or voices their opinion, when they describe themselves and their life, the process activates the brain zones associated with the primary reward, i.e., the production of dopamine (Tamir & Mitchell, 2012).

Self-image of abilities has surprisingly been found to weakly correlate with the actual abilities as assessed by psychometry; they are a better reflection of individuals’ personality traits than of their abilities and are also strong predictors of professional interests (Neubauer & Hofer, 2020).

Purpose of the Study

Since parents are often the source of positive feedback and expert opinion on the child’s abilities, it is important to find out what kind of parental attitude contributes to better self-disclosure. It is also imperative to know how strongly an adolescent’s performance, happiness (as the degree of existential fulfilment), and development of critical skills correlate with different types of parental attitude.

Research Methods

The sample, N=156, consisted of 9th to 11th grade school students. Content analysis of the results returned by Rumyantseva-modified Kuhn-McPartland test, which is essentially a non-formalized, non-standardized self-description, enabled the research team to split the sample into two subgroups: one with a positive self-disclosure (SE1) and one with zero self-disclosure (SE0). We also used Koryakina-adapted Längle test (Koryakina, 2015). Other methods included: the ADOR test by E. Schaefer (1965), modified by Matejcek and Rzhichan (1983), adapted by Bekhterev Institute’s researchers Wasserman et al. (2000).

Self-image of metacognitive knowledge and activity (Skvorcova & Kashapov, 2006).

Statistical data processing using the Mann-Whitney U test and Spearman’s correlation in SPSS 20.0.


Let us now take a look at how maternal and paternal attitudes affect adolescents’ academic performance, see Table 1.

Table 1 - Correlation between academic performance and mother’s/father’s attitudes, breakdown by groups
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The results show that in both subgroups, the maternal attitude correlated significantly with performance, whether in SE1 or in SE0 adolescents.

In particular, the SE1 subgroup showcased negative influence of maternal directiveness and inconsistency on performance as confirmed by Pearson’s correlation coefficient (-0.4 and -0.3, respectively). On the other hand, mother’s positive interest was found to significantly boost the child’s academic performance. In SE0 adolescents, directive mothers had a positive effect on performance, whilst the autonomous ones affected it negatively. SE0 adolescents’ performance was boosted by their mothers’ authoritarian (directive) communication and therefore lowered where the mothers were autonomous. Thus, a directive and non-autonomous mother was key to good performance for a second-subsample adolescent. Those did need control and guidance to perform well.

Just as in case of maternal attitude, father’s positive interest and autonomy contributed to the academic performance in SE1 adolescents. These adolescents were independent in their studies. That is consistent with the findings that good relationships with parents give better contemplation opportunities (Moretti & Peled, 2004). The situation was found drastically different in the SE0 subgroup, where performance was boosted by directive, hostile, and inconsistent fathers (0.5; 0.3; and 0.4 respectively). These data are presented in Table 2.

Table 2 - Correlation between father’s/mother’s attitudes and fulfilment of fundamental motivations in the two subgroups
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Self-Disclosure as Internal Monolog

Fulfilment of the fundamental motivations, a state that could be conventionally referred to as happiness, was achieved by adolescents in both subgroups provided their mothers were positively interested and autonomous. These results are consistent with the fact that psychologically better-off adolescents believe in final justice, a belief that helps them trust the world (Ermolaeva & Smirnova, 2020). Other parenting strategies affect the fulfilment of fundamental motivations negatively. Internal control showcases the correlation between reflection and directive mothers. Fundamental existential motivations in the first subgroup were more closely connected to mothers’ positive interest as compared to the second group.

Positive maternal interest did affect the existential motivations; however, this pattern had been known before. Hostile, directive, and inconsistent mothers compromise adolescents’ existential fulfilment.

Analysis of the correlation between paternal attitude and the fulfilment of fundamental motivations showed no significant correlation in either subgroup. Of interest is the significant negative impact of paternal hostility and inconsistency on the fulfilment of nearly any fundamental motivation; such attitudes on part of the father makes children unhappy, deprive them of the sense of living, trigger ever stronger fear, result in failure to understand self and in a loss of meaning.

The research team analyzed how parenting (attitudes) affected the adolescents’ metacognitive abilities, i.e., the resources available to them for mastering their own cognition, and the self-regulation of cognition, see Table 3.

Parents and their attitudes clearly affected metacognitive activity, with strong correlations between the positive maternal (and to some extent, paternal) interest and the development of metacognitive abilities: metacognitive knowledge and information search. However, maternal interest had such effect on the SE1 adolescents, i.e., those who were in touch with themselves, whilst paternal interest affected the SE0 adolescents. Directive mothers only jeopardized metacognition, while directive fathers helped to some extent those adolescents that had zero self-disclosure. Autonomous and inconsistent mothers boosted the metacognitive processes in the SE1 adolescents, whilst autonomous fathers did so in case of their SE0 counterparts, see Table 03.

Table 3 - Correlation between metacognitive abilities and parental attitudes in two subgroups
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R for reflection, MK for metacognitive knowledge, MA for metacognitive activity, C for concentration, IS for information search, IKI for identification of key ideas, TM for time management.

Correlation analysis shows that parental attitude does affect the development of cognitive abilities, i.e., self-regulation of cognition; however, this effect applies differently to adolescents depending on their self-acceptance. Self-regulation of cognition correlates with the academic performance and effectiveness of education (Alavi & McCormick, 2008; Bandura, 1977; Code, 2020; Shilenkova, 2020).

We therefore can advocate today’s trend known as helicopter parenting, as this approach performs best (Akinkina, 2020).


This study shows how important positive parental attitude is for adolescents. The mother’s attitude is of paramount importance for self-disclosure, self-acceptance, and internal monologue. Perhaps adolescents internalize their mothers’ acceptance and thus learn to accept themselves. Happiness, successes, and the potential maturation of adolescents are indeed largely dependent on how good the climate is in their families. It is important that the parents take appropriate positions and attitudes: an accepting and positive mother; and a demanding and autonomous father. This structure of relationships is most likely to result in the adolescent’s good academic performance, happy childhood, actualization of fundamental motivations, and self-regulation of cognition.


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Malakhova, V. R., Chernyavskaya, V. S., & Osadcheva, I. I. (2021). Parental Attitude And Self-Diclosure Of A Teenager’s Abilities. In & N. G. Bogachenko (Ed.), Amurcon 2020: International Scientific Conference, vol 111. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 619-626). European Publisher.