The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

How to improve relations with a teenager in the US

Elizaveta Lubleva

Doctor of Psychology


Each of us, regardless of the country of residence, passes through age-related crisis periods. The difference is that natural crises are superimposed and exacerbated by the stress experienced by the family in emigration. In the new society, the child learns much faster, learns the language, establishes communication with friends and the world around him. Parents feel that their contribution is not appreciated by children, which leads to mutual insult.

Фото: Depositphotos

The impossibility of dialogue, provocative behavior, rudeness ... Should a transitional age always be so painful? How could he look normal? How to maintain a relationship with a child?

Where do we go in crisis?

From childhood to the adult state of man. From the expectations and requirements of the child to adulthood - with a different responsibility, other opportunities. At this time, adult sexuality is born - everything changes: the body, the emotional manifestations, the way of thinking, the needs and behavior. Man will never be the same.

Do all of us have a transitional period due to the crisis?

Often these changes take place calmly, without serious problems in relations with parents. And the word “crisis” itself is translated from Greek (krisis) as a decision, a turning point, an outcome. The main thing for a teenager at this time is an independent introduction to the world of adults, which he can achieve only through opposition to his parents. It is important for him to feel autonomous and equal with them, but at the same time he strongly needs the support and recognition of his elders.

The difficulty for a teenager is, on the one hand, to find and establish an acceptable distance from his parents, on the other - to test his own capabilities.

In the case when parents are going to meet a teenager, you can avoid misunderstanding and confrontation. The family gradually adapts to the new situation and changes the previous rules: the child is allowed to listen to the music that he wants, sometimes to lock himself in his room, rearrange the furniture there, have pocket money, in some cases do not sleep at home.

Such compromises allow a teenager to feel more confident and promotes his separation from his parents - separation. Serious conflicts at this time often speak of long-standing disagreements (usually between parents), which are not directly related to the transition period of the child.

When conflicts with parents may not be the main indicator of growing up?

The attachment of children to parents, giving them a sense of security, is naturally transformed into distance as the adolescent has various interests. I remember my transitional age with gratitude to my parents for their trust and patience, for never giving a reason to doubt that they love me, always forgive me and in a crisis situation will help find a way out. Teen anger is a form of addiction, a manifestation of incomplete separation from parents. Irritation, anger or even hatred at this age is a manifestation of longing for love, hope for love and lack of freedom in the expression of your love.

Teenagers may be afraid: do I need, will they reject me, will they betray me if I trust my parents? Suddenly they will abuse my trust, use it against me or my friends?

If such fears are confirmed at least once, the teenager increases the distance (often involuntarily), and the parents, feeling that they are “losing” the child, increase control, provoking him to further distance, instead of looking for compromises. In general, transitional age is in a sense a test of love. In some families, children have to make titanic efforts to pay attention, and they are ready to go a long way to achieve it ...

Фото: Depositphotos

It happens that a teenager does not provoke parents, behaves very quietly?

The problem arises when a teenager is very attached to his parents and avoids separation from them, behaves as if going into the “big world” is dangerous for him. He is not ready to test his social capabilities, to turn his face to the world, to try to conquer it.

It also happens that a teenager is simply “not profitable” to grow if he unconsciously feels that he has a special role in the family.

For example, he feels himself a link between the parents, the cement that holds the family: if he leaves them, everything will collapse.

What does a normal transitional age crisis mean?

The development of a teenager with recessions and ups and an adequate response to this family - a normal crisis. At times, a teenager feels "uncomfortable", starts learning worse, and may feel sad and suffer because of unhappy love. There are conflicting desires: at the same time do nothing and achieve success, have an exceptional relationship with one person, want to get rid of parents, and at the same time there is a need for them.

Often, a teenager wants to be independent precisely when he feels so vulnerable.

Soft forms of problem (or protest) behavior are a demonstration of new features of their personality, a new style of behavior. Excess cosmetics, long or very short hair, torn jeans, loud music, posters on the walls, smoking, obscene vocabulary, rudeness, rudeness ... Extreme, sometimes dangerous forms of behavior are also well known: leaving home, refusing to study, all sorts of addictions ( from gambling to drug addiction), prostitution, suicide attempts.

Dangerous behavior of a teenager, and the game with death.

By endangering themselves, they are usually not looking for death as such. Suicide is a symbolic form of care, an attempt to break out of the family system, change its rules, change the structure. With this step, the child shouts: since you did not give me more love, did not hear my cry for help (did not pay attention to my leaving home, did not change the rules in the family, did not notice that I was different), then I would die.

Often, only after a demonstrative suicide attempt in such a family for the first time there is a dialogue, parents finally turn to the child: let's sit down and talk, we want to know how you want to live, how you want us to live ...

How to establish the correct distance in the relationship between adults and adolescents?

Healthy distance occurs when relationships at home with parents are not opposed to the life of a teenager outside. His friends, love, activities interest adults, but this interest does not violate the limits of his personality.

It is often difficult for parents to come to such relations, because the transitional age exacerbates two fears: to be abandoned by your child (the effect of an empty nest) and, on the contrary, to become too dependent on him (various kinds of manipulations on the part of the child).

Sometimes, fearing to lose confidence, parents start to allow him a lot, then it becomes even harder for them to gain understanding and obedience, as young people are more willing to dare, go to provocations. But audacity is not freedom. To tolerate her (like rudeness and rudeness) means in a sense to give up and leave a teenager a prisoner of his emotions, often cruel and contradictory.

Does a teenager need restrictions and prohibitions?

The child must face obstacles in order to assess their desires and opportunities. When the framework does not exist, the teenager easily puts himself in danger. He becomes a hostage to momentary desires, instead of learning to plan his life. Parents are responsible for the child, so they are obliged to put restrictions - this is a matter of safety and responsibility.

The child must spend the night at home, or the parents should know exactly where he is in order to contact him at any time. If a child is simply confronted with a fact, he will most likely rebel, therefore it is better to coordinate the rules and sanctions with him, trying to reach a compromise. For parents, the search for compromises is a matter of trust, for a teenager - a signal that he has a rear, where he will always be accepted, understood, forgiven and helped. Whatever happens, he must feel that at home he is loved - anyone.

Can the family complete the transition successfully?

It is easier for parents to survive the separation of the child from the family, supporting and reassuring each other: do not worry, look what he (she) is already an adult ... If the family is incomplete, you can rely on relatives and friends. The transition period ends when we formulate the rules for the new stage of the family life cycle and begin to follow them.

When we recognize the child's achievements and respectfully treat his personal space, when we look at a teenager, as a mature person who is less in need of our presence and constant attention. Then parents will have more free time for each other, more opportunities for self-realization.

Your consultant in the world of psychology Dr.Liza

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