Parent and Teenager Relationships
As a child begins to enter adolescence, there appears to be a rise in conflict between the adolescent and parents. The amount of conflict differs from family to family and is dependent on many factors. It is mainly due to the changing characteristics and growing of the adolescent and the way in which the rest of the family adjusts to these changes.
Adolescence is a time of challenge and change for both teens and parents. Teens are at a stage in life where they face a multitude of pressing decisions -- including those about friends, careers, sex, smoking, drinking, drugs and parental values. At the same time, they are confronted with profound physical, social and emotional changes.
Myths of adolescence are perpetuated because adults do not spend the time and effort learning about normal, expected changes during this period. It is much easier for us to put a label on people rather than to try to understand them. The teen years are truly "high speed, high need" years. Here are some concepts of conflict and some areas to look out for.
While most parents realize there are normal struggles between parents and teens as their sons and daughters struggle for independence and identity, they are often shocked by the length and intensity of the conflict. They are stunned by apparent rejection of some of their most sacred values and confused by their teenagers "acting up" and "acting out." In attempting to become psychologically independent of their parents, teens often attempt to move completely away from any control or influence by their parents.
When the rejected teenager reaches the limit of patience and tolerance, he or she lashes out -- rejecting the family, the school, the church, the system and becomes a "runaway." The teen may run away by lying, cheating, stealing, fighting, drinking, using drugs, breaking laws, quitting school, or becoming pregnant. The goal is to hurt, as the teen feels hurt by others.
When the above situations occur, many parents (and teens as well) feel they are caught in a situation that is bad; it doesn't make any difference what you do, it still doesn't work. Parent and teen are further apart than ever, and both feel terrible. The reasons are many and complex. Often, parents today do not take enough time, working and playing with their children. They need to realize that the family is a complex emotional system, not a business organization. Parents must convey the...