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Connecting with Adolescent Children

 
 
 

 
Many parents dread their children’s onset of puberty and anticipate a tempestuous period of rebelliousness, fights over curfews and engaging in risky behavours.
 
Stanley Hall, a psychologist working at the beginning of the 20th century, termed the adolescent time as one of ‘storm and stress’. Though not all adolescents and parents experience this time as challenging and difficult, it is undoubtedly a transitional stage.
 
Psychologically speaking, adolescence is a period characterised by very important developmental tasks. The relationship between the parent and adolescent changes because the young person is separating from the adult, to become an autonomous individual with a separate and different identity.
 
This detachment from parental figures, results in the investment of energy in relationships outside the family. As issues of independence and identity emerge, peer groups and external appearance tend to increase in importance.

Our development as human beings is a life-long process. How we approach a new period in life is influenced by what came before it. Primarily, when parents or carers have fostered and invested in a positive, healthy and secure relationship with their offspring from childhood, there is more likelihood of these relationships being able to withstand the stressful adolescent period.
 
Teens who feel accepted and loved, and who are secure in the knowledge that they can trust their parent to be emotionally available for them, will be better able to maintain a good level of self-esteem and develop healthy relationships with peers, while building a deeper sense of who they are.

At the same time, it is never too late to foster a healthier relationship with one’s adolescent children. It is important to be able to be flexible and to be open to discover new parenting methods which enhance teens’ developing sense of identity, while maintaining a sense of connection and meaningful relationship to them.
 
 
 
 

The article was submitted by Maia Psychology Centre. The Centre offers psychological services to children, adolescents, adults and families, including assessments, psychotherapy and consultation. MPC also provides training to professionals and informative talks to the general public.
 
For more information please contact Maia Psychology Centre on info@maiapsychologycentre.com, or visit their website here.
 



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