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As teens grow and change, parents need to be fluid. The parents must be able to change their rules, parenting methods, and ways of relating, in order to encourage teen autonomy. And they must do this without totally relinquishing parental guidance and control. If parents lose their control, result is an adolescent who is out of control. The trick is to strike proper balance between setting limits and allowing increasing independence at each stage of child's developmental process.
The years of adolescence can be hard on all involved, but with love and careful guidance, transition can be a time of growth for whole family.
College kids and other young adults often have a really tough time during this period of transition. And so do their parents. Anxiety runs high for everyone now that its time to lay down a path toward future. Parents want to be sure that destination is visible, safe, and secure. Kids want time to figure out where they want to go.
It might help to know that majority of people do not arrive into young adulthood with all their life decisions already in place. Now is time when they have finally left nest and are just beginning to spread their wings. That heady feeling of flight understandably distances them from ground and flight pattern is unpredictable. Parents, take heart. This is normal life cycle developmental task of separating from family. A simultaneous developmental task is creating a new, age appropriate connection with family. It will all happen in due time.
Common issues for parents of young adults are: Kids' financial dependence upon them while hearing declarations of independence. The young adult who opts out of college. Parental inability to let go, as evidenced by constant phone calls, visits, and worrying. This has effect of clipping bird's wings... Conflicts when he or she makes brief visits home from college--so many people to see in so little time! What about us??? Re-adjustment to living together again during summer vacations. Difficulty negotiating a new, age appropriate connection with young adult. Lack of control over young adult can feel terrifying to some parents.
Common issues for young adults are:
All of above...with added challenges of forming new friendships, learning to have mature, intimate relationships, doing well in school or work, and establishing goals for future.
If your child is not in school, you may feel like a failure. You are not, and neither is he or she. You do not ever want to convey that message because it will cause unimaginable damage to your child's soul. It will also become a self fulfilling prophecy. Which brings me to my favorite question, anyway: How do you define success? Does success mean acquiring wealth? I personally don't think so, but I'm in minority. I define success as being my own authentic self (not what people or society expect me to be) doing work that I love, and living with someone that I love. It's that simple. And that difficult. But I can tell you that people I know who agree with my definition of success, and make it happen, tend to be happiest people I know.
Maggie Vlazny is a Certified Stepfamily Counselor, Certified Imago Therapist, and Certified EMDR Therapist. Her practice is in Florham Park, NJ. This is a mother-daughter practice. As a team, they are able to combine their strengths to offer you the care most suitable to your needs. They offer comprehensive services to traditional and non traditional individuals, couples, and families. www.therapyct.com