Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards

Second Advisor

Dr. Chad Edwards

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Propp

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


This study seeks to understand the experience of adults who, as children, had a parent as a classroom teacher by applying Baxter and Montgomery’s (1998) Relational Dialectics Theory (RDT). The goal of this research is to better understand the contradictions and tensions that are an ongoing part of the parent/child relationship in the classroom setting, and to identify ways that the experience of being both parent and teacher, child and student may carry over to the home and to the child's broader school experience at the time. The application of RDT (Baxter and Montgomery, 1998) helps identify the tensions that exist in efforts to balance this unique circumstance. Fourteen adults who, as children, had one of their parents as their classroom teacher in either elementary, junior high, or high school for at least one school semester were part of the interviews. They explained in their own words their experience. Relational dialectical tensions existed in the parent/child, teacher/student crossover relationship. Additionally, participants utilized and described successful management techniques. This study has shown a complex process of interpersonal relationship management when two familiar roles are combined into a new, unfamiliar one.

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