There are three distinctive stages of adolescence, and our best parenting should grow in response to these stages:
Ages 13-15/16 Early Adolescence
This is the stage of distance between “self” and “other”. It involves the adolescent measuring him or herself against others. It is a time of uncertainty, emotional extremes, confrontation to clarify oneself against confrontation, and a time of building one’s own worldview apart from one’s parents.
best parenting: walking the line between boundaries that provide safety and the slow opening up of the external world outside the family
Ages 15/16 to 18: Middle Adolescence
This is a stage of more personal responsibility; typically a time of not wanting to be identified with childhood and a great enthusiasm for new challenges, wider contexts, and experiencing the push and pull of intimacy where oneself is expressed but there is still room for the other person; sensitive adolescents can struggle during this time
best parenting: be on guard for escapism in response to that pull of vulnerability versus self-set boundaries; help the middle adolescent take responsibility and not lose oneself within the wider world; artistic work is important during this time period
Ages 18 t0 21: Last phase of Adolescence
This is a time of figuring out not only who am i? but what do I want? meshed with the understanding of what am I capable of? This must come from the will; mature adolescents will see where their path of development helps their fellow man. This is a time of choosing their place in life, their work, perhaps a significant other or significant community.
best parenting: since action comes from being capable, providing support and encouragement for capacities and capabilities is important; support for the ideas of the late adolescent; the encouraging of community
Share some of your best parenting practices for adolescents!
Blessings and much love,