The Difference Is
There is a difference between troubled teens and teen troubles. Even if teens never do drugs, fail in school or exhibit rebellious behavior, they are still going to experience all of the troubles that accompany adolescence. They become teens at risk when those experiences do not go well.
It isn’t easy traversing the ground between childhood dependence and the independence that comes with adolescence.
At the same time the emerging teen is holding their parents hands, they are simultaneously swatting them away. Much as a toddler learning to walk wants their parent near by, but not hands-on.
Children Need to Learn to Their Own Person
“The major task of adolescence is to become ‘your own person’. Adolescents learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world.
They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions.
But teenagers swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It’s easy for parents to get frustrated. And it’s easy for a parent to assume that if the teenager would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.
But parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand teenagers and to respect what they are doing in the struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.”
By Ann Walker