Adolescence is the toughest half of growing up–separating from childhood, detaching for independence, and differentiating for individuality. Adolescence requires that parents adjust expectations as the child becomes somewhat less close, less communicative, and less readily compliant. Having realistic expectations about common adolescent changes and common changes in their relationship with their teenager can be helpful. Carl Pickhardt Ph. D. So: why a fascination with adolescence and parenting adolescents? The answer for me is that the process of growing up from childhood to adulthood is a transforming and universal one. In response, the parenting challenges are problematic and complex. On both counts, I find the coming of passage endlessly compelling to think and write about. Adolescence I believe that the hardest half of growing up comes last. Gradually detaching from childhood and parents to earn independence and gradually differentiating from childhood and parents to develop individuality, adolescence accomplishes a life-changing transformation: “Now I can function on my own, and I have become my own person.” This developmental change doesn't happen overnight. It takes maybe 10 to 12 years to unfold and fulfill: from separating from childhood around late elementary school to forming a second family of friends around middle school, experimenting with acting older around high school, and finally emancipating from home rule around the college-age years. For gains in growth, there are costs to be paid at every stage of the way: Starting adolescence ends the simple security of childhood. Peers create pressures to conform socially and belong. […]
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