from 12 to 17 years old


Exam for parents

The parent realizes that there is still a child in front of him, and not an adult at all. It is not easy for moms and dads to accept what is happening: the reasoning of daughters and sons is still immature, and the orientation towards friends is annoying. At this moment, adults are worried: they are trying to understand what mistakes they made in their upbringing, they are worried about rash actions, they are trying to urgently raise a “baby”, instill in him the “correct” values. Only these efforts rarely lead to the desired results.

I call adolescence the parenting test. Firstly, it is then that the child presents to us all his grievances and claims that he was not ready to voice earlier. Secondly, how this period will pass largely depends not on the teenager, but on the adults. Will they find the strength to start trusting more, maintain contact with this new “ruffled” creature and build a constructive dialogue?

Transition period

Adolescence is the transition from childhood to adulthood. This does not mean that the child will suddenly become completely independent and independent. But gradually he will begin to be responsible for his actions, to make his conscious choice in matters of morality and interests.

This is the period when the interests of the child from the family area are shifted to the outside world. For this reason, the opinion of peers becomes more important than the position of the parent. After all, now there, among people like him, you need to look for your place and prove your worth. This happens to all children without exception. And with those who constantly protest and row, and with those who are not allowed by the culture of the family to openly declare their position. All interests are now somewhere out there, outside the home.

All these psychological metamorphoses occur during puberty. There is a hormonal and physical restructuring of the body, which by the end of puberty will be identical to an adult.

Such violent processes in the body and, accordingly, in the deeper parts of the brain require a huge amount of energy. And it is not enough to provide cognitive processes. That is why the intellectual abilities of adolescents are often markedly reduced. This adds unpleasant experiences to both the parents and the child himself, but it soon passes.

Rebellion and independence

The essence of typical conflicts often boils down to the fact that a teenager refuses to comply with the requirements of his parents and insists on his own position. This is the easiest and fastest way to fight: “They tell you to do this!” – “And I will not do that!” This is already enough to begin to sort things out and completely leave the field of cooperation.

But it’s time for the child to make independent decisions in some issues. And how can you learn to accept them if you follow the instructions of your parents all the time? It means that the time has come to abandon ready-made solutions and look for our own. It may not work right away. Mistakes are possible, even inevitable.

What should a parent do? Most often he has two paths. He can be there and support when decisions of a teenager are unsuccessful, or he can act as a cruel prosecutor.

There is another scenario, when a teenager is suddenly given too much freedom, referring to the fact that he is now “an adult.” Only the corresponding requirements are imposed on him: if he broke the wood, deal with the consequences yourself. And if a child got into this “adulthood” unprepared, it is difficult for him to cope with all the circumstances of his new life on his own.

Maintain a relationship

In all situations, adult support is needed to the extent that the adolescent needs it. It is so easier for him to enter a new stage of growing up, and the parent maintains a connection with the child and a certain influence on his decisions.

It is very important not to lose contact. Adolescence is the stage in a family’s life when a child turns into an adult. The former hierarchical relationships are already unproductive: the parent is in charge, and the child obeys his requirements. We need to rebuild, learn to communicate as equals, with mutual respect for the position of each.

This is a lot of new things not only for a child, but also for an adult. How the restructuring of relationships will take place, how it will end, will greatly affect the future of the teenager.

The road to autonomy

Until adolescence, the family was the main focus of interests, emotions, and social life of the child. But the time has come to “hatch” from this “shell”. The exit is necessary in order to feel like a full-fledged person in the future.

If a parent uses his influence not to let go of a teenager, there is a risk that the latter will remain in this “shell”. And we are not talking about the physical separation of a son or daughter from the family, but about the psychological autonomy that is formed in adolescence. In a transitional crisis, a key role is played by the parent’s willingness to recognize this autonomy, to support it.

It is very difficult to strike a balance between dependence and independence of a child during this period. Success in this is associated not only with the personality traits of the parent and adolescent, but also with the family culture, with the parents’ own experience of going through the adolescent crisis.

However, there are no insurmountable obstacles in the relationship. You just need to talk, listen and hear each other, look for compromises.

The teenage period ends, protest and constant contradictions go away. If the parent was able to maintain contact with the child and rebuild his attitude towards him in accordance with age, then in the future peace and tranquility will reign in the family.

Read a series of articles by pediatric neuropsychologist Svetlana Lucca about the periods of a child’s development. The articles “Periods of Child Development: Infancy”, “Periods of Child Development: 1 to 3 Years”, “Periods of Child Development: 3 to 7 Years” and “Periods of Child Development: 7 to 12 Years” are already on the site.

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