The school counselor's role in facilitating parent-adolescent communication
This study applied a descriptive phenomenological approach to the exploration of the school counselor’s role in parent-adolescent communication. While there is an abundance of research regarding issues of adolescence and parenting, an inordinate amount of studies concentrates on atypical development. The purpose of this qualitative dissertation is to provide new knowledge regarding normative parent-adolescent communication as experienced by school counselors. As the key informant, the school counselor is in a unique position, with special knowledge, and is able to provide a fresh perspective and deeper insight to explore this issue. The school counselor’s viewpoint of parent-adolescent communication provides insight from their own interactions receiving information that parents and adolescents often share with a school counselor, but not with each other. The participants consisted of 5 counselors employed in private independent middle and high school settings. Data were gathered through group meetings and individual interviews utilizing Zoom video, audio, typed chats, and field notes. Data analysis framed by a descriptive phenomenological approach included in vivo and descriptive coding, pattern coding, and a reduction of descriptions to unfold the essence of the phenomenon. This process revealed five themes: Parental self-efficacy and adolescence, parental knowledge and boundaries, adolescent information management and expectations, the school counselor-adolescent relationship matters, and parent support and partnerships. The findings contribute to knowledge regarding foundational parent-adolescent processes and demonstrates that school counselors can be a catalyst for parent-adolescent communication. The findings can inform parents, school counselor education and certification programs and policy.