One of the really frustrating mysteries of adult life for me has been why perfectly normal friends – if one can describe anyone that way – go a little more than crazy when their children reach teen years.
|Eye to eye no more ... The problems of teens and parents often clash through timing. Thanks to Delancey Placedot com for the portrait.|
In my case, for instance, at 16 I couldn’t stomach a change in attitudes, or a seeming change.
I simply ran away from it, from them, from home, and ran just as far as my Post Office bank deposits could take me.
Somehow Fortune must have been on my side for the town where the money ran out offered me work – a live-in job on a farm – the day I arrived, sparing me even one night on the street.
The question of that fall out then, and its equivalent now that friends suffer had remained unanswered.
Nowadays, it is astonishing how many friends with teenage youngsters become almost suicidal. And not just one or two friends, but so many, at least percentage-wise.
Good old DelanceyPlace.com has come to the rescue with an excerpt from the book Crossing Paths, (Scribner) by Laurence Steinberg and Wendy Steinberg.
|The best advice is, 'Make sure you have genuine and satisfying interests outside of being a parent.’ ...|
The book reveals that the findings emerge from a landmark study, The Families at Adolescence Project, which shows that a child's entrance into adolescence is often even more difficult for parents than it is for their children.
Watching their children mature unearths complicated and intense emotions deep inside parents.
‘That these emotions typically rise to the surface during midlife, a time with its own trying psychological agenda, makes matters much more difficult...
A cruel contrast
'The physical blossoming inherent in adolescence provides a cruel contrast to our midlife journey.'
Psychologists note that middle age brings a shift in time perspective in which individuals start measuring their lives in terms of how long they have left to live rather than how long they have been alive.
'For people in the throes of a crisis, changes in physical appearance become a daily reminder that time is slipping away.
'Rather than being wrapped up in a state of existential angst, most of the adolescents in our research coast through life in a sort of pleasant fog, far more concerned with whether they have a date on Friday night or a social studies test the following Wednesday than with who they really are or where they are headed.'
The authors say that parents frequently ask for advice for coping with their teenage children and those whose children are about to become teenagers.
The best advice is, 'Make sure you have genuine and satisfying interests outside of being a parent.’
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