Mothers' Parenting in an Era of Proactive Policing

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A family systems perspective suggests the repercussions of adolescent police contact likely extend beyond the adolescent to proliferate to the broader family unit, but little research investigates these relationships. I used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a longitudinal survey of children who became adolescents during an era of proactive policing, to examine the relationship between adolescent police contact and four aspects of family life: mothers’ parenting stress, mothers’ monitoring, mothers’ discipline, and the mother-adolescent relationship. Adolescent police contact, especially invasive police contact, is associated with increased parenting stress, increased discipline, and decreased engagement, net of adolescent and family characteristics that increase the risk of police contact. There is also evidence that suggests adolescent police contact is more consequential for family life when mothers themselves had experienced recent police contact. These findings suggest the repercussions of police contact extend beyond the individual and proliferate to restructure family relationships.

Turney, Kristin. 2023. “Mother’s Parenting in an Era of Proactive Policing.” Social Problems 70(1):256–273.