Presentation on theme: "BRINGING PARENTS INTO THE CONVERSATION Adolescent Transitions."— Presentation transcript:
BRINGING PARENTS INTO THE CONVERSATION Adolescent Transitions
Adolescents are Theory Builders Adolescents are building theories of the world and testing those theories. They crave abstraction. They use phrases like “what if,” “that’s not fair,” and, “it depends” which indicate they are considering what’s possible and what isn’t possible in their world. Experimentation, exploration, and investigation are core activities of the youthful mind.
Adolescents are Theory Builders Teens often test boundaries, assumptions, and rules. This may include seeing (testing) what one can get away with. Understanding the link between theory- building and theory-testing in the mind of a teen helps parents to see how moments of “youthful rebelliousness” are opportunities for participating in meaning-making, even if such moments necessitate being sent back to one’s room.
Independence isn’t always separation. A teenager’s desire to be distinct does not necessarily require them to totally disconnect from their parents Departure is not separation- it is exploration, and all explorers need a good home base to which they can return to reconnect, reflect and recharge. Peer groups are important because they provide a shared experience of exploration and experimentation but they are also exhausting and stressful. Coming home is as important as going out.
Independence isn’t always separation. It is less about severing ties within the family and more about creating new and intense bonds outside of family. It is about building new relationships not abandoning lifelong ones. This is a usually a very hard transition for parents because it means that deep, caregiving, loving connections must loosen a bit to allow adolescents to discover their world on their terms.
Showing Up Matters Teens may never show it, but it matters to them when their parents attend games, performances, parent-teacher conferences, back to school nights, science fairs, and other events associated with their hard work and learning. To enhance their feelings of of independence, teens sometimes overcompensate by making sure they never appear needy. So their gestures toward you may be couched in casual disregard for your involvement, feigning disinterest in whether you attend or not.
Showing Up Matters Teens may never ask you to attend anything, instead they may toss their game schedule on the kitchen counter in plain view, or they may ask for a ride to a drama performance, or they may grudgingly hand you the back- to- school night announcement while feigning complete disinterest. Little gestures like these, might be best read as invitations. Seize them, because staying connected means being there when things happen. Important things, funny things, odd things, exciting things, or everyday things are always good topics for conversations—a way in to your child’s life.
Showing Up Matters! From academic, athletic, and artistic events at school to special outings to museums, parks, or restaurants, the simple action of showing up communicates presence, interest, and commitment, which can be powerfully stabilizing and comforting experiences for teens immersed in so much change.
So Be Interested and Be Involved Ignore the rolling of their eyes. Tell them it is your job as a parent to embarrass them. Tell them you love them too much to ever lose interest in their life. When you aren’t able to go, tell them you want to hear all the details. Laugh with them, cry with them. Make their day. Make their life. Think back, don’t you wish your parents were more involved with you then? Don’t you wish you had been closer?
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