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Qualitative Research – Turning points and changes across time in relationships

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Parent-young adult relationship
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There are different relationships that human beings form in the course of the lifespan, but the relationship between a child and a parent is among those that are the most important. The turning point is a crucial ideology in the growth and development of a child’s life towards adulthood as it affects the patterns of growth and change concerning relation and transitions in social values. The relationship between a parent and a child forms a critical component in human existence (Guerrero et al., 2013). It is vital to analyses the parent-child relationship as the changes that happen affect the child’s character and the closeness to the parent or guardian parent figure.
The future occurrence in life that impact the child’s life and how the parent reacts and resolves to help the child usually affects whether the closeness will increase or deteriorate depending on how the parent feels it. Thus, the turning point, where change takes root when the child hits puberty and joins the college as an adult influence the closeness to the parents. The research analysis from the college shows the turning point of each child that determined their choice of distancing themselves from their parents or putting their relations to the parents much closer (Eadie, 2009).
Literature review
Perceived and actual parental support given to young adults depends on the children’s social roles, needs, parent resources, and characteristics.

Wait! Qualitative Research – Turning points and changes across time in relationships paper is just an example!

Thus, the transition from high school to college covers the time span of change in parent-young adult relationships. College is a time where the children discover and develop their beliefs and values, likes and dislikes which when accumulated all together, shapes them into what they want to become as adults. It is in this period when the young adults and their parents struggle in negotiating independence that involves redefining the relationship that is to either bring them much closer or drift them further apart.
This research project analyzed the effects of transition of the children both males and females from high school to college and the change in parent-child relationship when the child moves away to college. The research also indicates that with time, the parent-child relationship is prone to change significantly, as it affects how the parent and the young adult communicate with each other and a change in the closeness of the parent and child as they leave home. It will give regard to either how the young adults see how the physical distance to affect the relationship positively or negatively (Laursen & Collins, 2013). It is evidently clear from the research that individuals most certainly do not transition straight to young adulthood from adolescence.
A period referred to as emerging adulthood exists between the adolescent and young adulthood that brings about the turning point. Emerging adulthood involves the exploration of life decisions that are possible that forms the identity exploration in work, love, and worldviews. It is where the young adult explores all possibilities of life directions as it is. Moreover, there is the involvement of risky behaviors during this age period such as drugs and unprotected sex as the emerging adulthood is self-focused and self-aware. Due to that fact, matters concerning autonomy during the time are very high as the young adult wants to become a self-sufficient individual fully and ready to take responsibilities for oneself and to make independent decisions.
Gradual adjustments by both the parents and the children are essential to maintaining their emotional connection and bond. Communication researchers have stated that turning points in relationships is usable in examining transition in relationships. Turning points refers to changes that affect the recalibration of relations. The occurrence of an event that results to change in a relationship is a turning point. Three main ideologies cause a shift in the closeness of relationships; they include; time of crisis, like divorce and family illness, the age of the parent and child, and lastly the physical distance (Coburn, 2003).
The use of turning point graphs and retrospective interviews with the thirty young adult males and thirty females in college examined and revealed events that effected change in closeness in the relationship with father and mother. The research shows that of the factors that led to change, the physical distance was the most prevalent cause of turning point as it brought some children and parents closer while to others, it created a barrier. Also, the closeness patterns varied between the relationship between the father and the relationship with the mother. The relationship between mothers and the children was the one that faced significant disruptions that would result in a reduction in closeness, but the closeness would eventually regain.
Thus, what are the turning points in parent-young adult relationships during the transition to college?
Method
This research found interpretive methods as the most useful in trying to understand and interpret interpersonal relationships. The qualitative data allows for more in-depth insight and clues of a person’s experiences in the parent-child relationship via asking for the information from the participants who explain the point at which they felt the change and how they took it (Taub, 2008). The method works whereby the data that received facilitates the creation of overarching themes and links them together inductively. It is helpful as data acquired is first hand and limits biases. Parents’ school of graduation and area were inquired for.
The research of the study involved interviewing and listening to the participants give a turning point graph thus allowing the researcher to directly and actively participate and try to understand the participants’ experiences. All of the research work collected and put together provided trajectories of the turning point graphs used in forming the overarching themes. Recruitment was through snowball sampling where the researcher just in his social network asked for those who were willing to give participation in the study. Those who showed interest to participate would also identify others like friends to join in the survey too.
The researcher contacted those who were eligible for participation and sent them recruitment emails. Those who responded received the schedule when the conduction of the interview would take place. Participants were thirty females and thirty male students who were in session and with a continuing relationship with their parents. All the selected participants had to read and sign an informed consent form that underwent approval before beginning the interview. Sixty participants went through the interview (Edelman, 2013). The age of the participants ranged from 18-25 years. The researcher carried out the interviews and recorded them for transcription purposes.
The interview guide inquired about the relationship of the participant with both parents while in high school as well as that in college. Questions also involved the closeness of the participant to the parents while in high school, and how they felt when leaving home. The transition questions included the topics of communication between the two parties and any arguments that occurred. Lastly, the interview asked the point of view of the participants regarding the state of relationship now. Questions asked were open-ended as it gave the participants a chance to reflect and express their experiences and communication with the parents (Golish, 2013).
The researcher availed the turning point graphs to the participants to fill them out. The chart had vertical axis representing the levels of closeness, where one was ‘not close’ and ten being the closest. The horizontal axis showed the months in the first year and an additional of two-three months before joining college and a transition point to college having intervals of one month. The participant would at least identify three points that marked when the closeness decreased or increased ((Edelman, 2013)). After the establishment of the points, the researcher would inquire for explanations of the markers on the graph.
The researcher would then listen to the recorded audio after the interview to identify critical quotes, making notes on each statement referring to what it revealed about the relationship. Relational processes established facilitated the development of themes that emerged from the repetition of words during the interview, recurrence of different words that had the same idea and forcefulness that arose from changes in the tone during the meeting (Coburn, 2013). The criteria developed the theme of shifting and communicating in relational control, the physical distance and what it meant. Lastly, there was a change in the meaning of closeness. The participants connected the turning points creating a visual representation that symbolized closeness in the relationship in the first year. The graphs also showed systematic reduction and increased the closeness of the parent and child.
Results
Interviews
The study involved interviews in finding first-hand information about the parent-student relationships. It is unlike the second method of research that uses graphs. It collects data on the parent-student relationship in a holistic manner. Much information obtained and analyzed regarding how students view their parents and how specific views came to change or persisted with time. Besides, the effect of distance on the relationships requires analysis primarily for the case of daughters. The factors established depending on the extent of repetition, tonal variation and emphasis on particular words as explained by Edelman (2013).
The most conspicuous type of relationship characteristics included changes in communication patterns. For the case of daughters’ relationships, the parents focused more on advising their daughters. Students chose when to communicate to their parents, and most often, they had allowance to express their opinions more often. Sons appeared to be more in control, and there was little communication with parents. During the first year, students felt closer to their parents with a sense of autonomy. Parents were in power, and any attempt to act outside the rules attracted severe consequences from the parents.
Parents who passed through college appeared to be more in control telling their sons and daughters what to do, unlike those who were not through college (Coburn, 2003). Daughters, in particular, felt their mothers were too much in control, and one would risk losing support if they traded their studies with partying and drugs. Those who wanted to try different lifestyles met with resistance from their parents. Example, those raised in a religious background were to remain faithful to their spiritual life.
Secondly, distance as a factor was meaningful to the relationship. Daughters came to realize the importance of their parents after moving to college. Female students felt it was fun returning to their parents and appreciating the role, they played in their life when in high school. Some of the reasons given were that it was a way of realizing and acknowledging the importance of how one grows and one misses their parents when away. Exposure to college life made most students expand their knowledge about the world, for example, different opinions about life (Golish, 2000).
Lastly, the teens had different ways of perceiving the intentions of their parents. It changed how close they were to their parents. To some, it was not a good relationship while to others the relationship became more intimate. Time spent with parents increased closeness depending on the activities each liked to do with their parents (Coburn, 2003). Transition to college required certain adjustments such as length of conversations and time together. There was also a change in the way the students viewed the perceptions of their parents. Most of them concealed information when asked about private life. However, some were free to share every step of the life progress in college.
Approach to arguments changed in handling them. Students make quick solutions at the college level than when in high school. This is because there was limited time to engage in an argument or hold grudge says one of the male students. It was almost impossible to argue over the phone, and by the time one got home, they forgot about the dispute (Taub, 2008).
Use of Graphs
Graphs define trajectories in relationship change. Similar paths for graphs were placed together to show same turning points. During the first years in college, there was a linear pattern in the closeness between students and their parents. Female students indicated an increase in the length of communication especially with their others compare to their male students. Most of the talk centered on the activities in school such as academic progress. To some, the relationship trajectory increased at first but started to decrease with time. It highly depended on the events at home and in school. A positive change in work such as the promotion of a parent meant more responsibilities and this reduced closeness with their parents. Losing a job or retirement meant more time hence more closeness and vice versa (Taub, 2008).

A graph showing Parents who graduated from a U.S. University or college.
The graph illustrated that most parents who graduated from U.S. universities and colleges showed positivity in communication with their children. Towards the end of the school year, the trajectory showed a decrease or increase in closeness. It is because the students were reconnecting with their parents or to some it meant more stress if the relationship had initially been a bad one. College life changes many students, and it is hard for them to accept their old life. A steady trajectory regarding the positive or negative type of relationships was evident. Some remained close while others became apart after joining college. This depended on how often they say their parents communicated. The trajectories show a massive impact on the parents in determining the effect of the relationship. Small samples did not tell much about specific paths compared to large samples (Carney-Hall, 2008).
Discussion
The research aims at studying the relationships regarding change between parents and students as they transitioned from high school to college. Some of the themes considered included the differences in communication, effects of distance on the relationship (Coburn, 2003). Graphs based on turning trajectories indicate a linear increase with the most extensive sample of closeness. Interviews, on the other hand, reveal that communication characteristics changed with time, students often felt autonomous, change in the arguments was handled and advice from parents. Physical distance was also a critical factor in determining the relationships. Distance meant more freedom, responsibility, and independence for most college students. Some had the opportunity to realize the importance of the role played by their parents in their lives up to where they are. Meaning of relationships changed regarding closeness through conversations and perception of parents’ intentions (Carney-Hall, 2008).
It is clear that physical distance had a considerable impact on parent-student relationships changes according to the findings. However, some researchers argue against the point as distance often decreases contact hence closeness says (Arnett, 2000). Results from the graphs indicate that there is a perceived increase in first years in college and this only change during the mid or last years in college when the experiences have changed one in college. The relationship seemed to have more advancements in female students compared to male students, as often women tend to equate distance and relationships.
Parents were the major players in determining the degree of closeness with their children contrary to most relationship theories that argue that it takes the effort of both parties. The manner in which the students treated either their parents while in high school had to change positively or negatively ones they joined college. Joining college meant independence, and for women, this said more closeness to their parents especially the mother who offered more advice on a range of subjects. Communication the graphs and interviews all indicate that the level of closeness increased when they moved to college. It received aid from improved communication with their parents. According to Arnett, (2000) college life is a critical stage in the transition to adulthood for most teens.

Figure representing the physical distance from home to the college.
The changes at this stage are therefore essential to study in understanding the parent-student relationships. The changes can be either positive or negative depending on the perception of the student. The changes often revolve around work, social life, and religion. Most students choose when or how to talk to their parents, those who spoke often indicated closer relationships among those who were not always in touch. Parents gave advice. Differently, female students listened and heeded more from their parents ‘advice especially the mother, unlike their fathers who appeared more commanding than offering advice (Carney-Hall, 2008). There were faster solutions to arguments as there was little time to argue and hold grudges unlike when in high school.
The meaning of closeness had to change as indicated by the four trajectories of change. A slight disruption meant a shift in the closeness that assumed normalcy with time. Daughters related to their mothers more. Some of the points that mattered included independence, advice, and level of experience of their parents when giving information. Too many judgments and opinions were limited at this time. There is emphasis on limited control to allow the students to expand their reasoning and learn from life experiences (Golish, 2000). Parents’ intentions and perception of students depended on the extent of pry to privacy. Students opened up more when they felt they had more freedom to make significant decisions about their life hence increased closeness.
Conclusion
In conclusion, the parent-young adult relationship is complicated and dependent on the reaction of both parties. One disadvantage is that only the young adults participated in the study hence acquiring analysis from only one side yet the relationship involved both the parents too. Secondly, the establishment of the degree of closeness was through the quality of interactions instead of the frequency of communication. Another limitation that emerged was that the participants seemed to have similar experiences due to the snowball sampling nature.
It is therefore crucial that all parties be inclusive in the study for it to be objective and comprehensive. How parents reacted to problems that their children experienced especially the mothers, determined the closeness in the relationship as most mothers proved to be quite protective and still understanding. The factor of physical distance was also outstanding, as most relationships seemed to have strengthened despite the miles. Most young adults were closer to their mothers than their fathers especially the female participants were (Kail & Cavanaugh, 2013).
References
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480.
Carney-Hall, K. (2008). Understanding current trends in family involvement. New Directions for Student Services, 122, 3-14. doi: 10.1002/ss.271
Coburn, K. L. (2003). Letting go: A parents’ guide to understanding the college years, (4th ed.). New York: Harper Collins.
Eadie, W. F. (2009). 21st century communication: A reference handbook. Los Angeles: Sage.
Edelman, L. (2013). The effects of parental involvement on the college student transition: A qualitative study (Master’s thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.
Golish, T. D. (2000). Changes in closeness between adult children and their parents: A turning point analysis. Communication Reports, 13(2), 79-97.
Guerrero, L. K., Andersen, P. A., & Afifi, W. A. (2013). Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships.
Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2013). Human development: A life-span view. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Laursen, B. P., & Collins, W. A. (2012). Relationship pathways: From adolescence to young adulthood. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.
Taub, D. J. (2008). Exploring the impact of parental involvement on student development. New Directions for Student Services, 122, 15-28. doi:10.1002/ss.272

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