Potential conflict exists when two parties have incompatible goals; actual conflict occurs when interaction reveals that these incompatible goals exist (Cahn, 1992). Because socialization requires parents to redirect child behavior so that it is situationally appropriate and conforms to cultural or subcultural norms, the immediate goals of parents and children are often at odds, resulting in the potential for conflict. Seen from this perspective, conflict is omnipresent in parent-child relationships, particularly those involving young children. Some observational studies estimate that children engage in behavior eliciting parental control as often as once every 15 minutes (Forehand, King, Peed, & Yoder, 1975). Furthermore, there are certain child behaviors that are widely recognized as aversive, and, therefore, conflict engendering (e.g., rule violation, aggressive or destructive behavior, whining or yelling, and ignoring parents; Hoffman, Fagot, Reid, & Patterson, 1987; Patterson, 1982). Because conflict experienced as part of the socialization process is likely to influence later conflict behavior and general child adjustment, it is important to examine parent-child conflict. However, no cohesive, identifiable literature has emerged on this topic, a circumstance that may reflect the belief that the imbalance of power between parents and preadolescent children precludes the expression of true conflict. 1 The present chapter, therefore, draws on several related sources in discussing conflict between parents and their preadolescent children.