The experience for us parents of children becoming adults is well documented and leads to all of us having many humerous and terribly upsetting stories about interactions with this species know as teenager.
Notwithstanding the experiences of the adults in this young persons life what about the experiences of the person themselves?
A newly minted young person
- been used to the safety net of mum and dad keeping them safe and bailing them out when they get in trouble with other adults
- experienced a massive change in body shape and hormones
- a seemingly sudden desire for autonomy without the responsibility that comes with it
In the morning the child is lovely, taking dishes out to the sink when finished breakfast and kissing you goodbye on the way out to school. In the afternoon a teenager comes home dumping their bag and coat all over the place and moans you are always picking on them when you mention the coat! This all seems to happen in a day. Should I blame school? :-)
The young person experiences
- a strong ingrained new sense of self reliance
- strong urge for independence, which has the flip side of
- increased vulnerability
- I push those who tell me what to do away
- secretly I am terrified they will leave me to sort this mess out
- a massive urge to find a group and fit in with the tribe
- confidence in risk taking that would match Alex Honnold and his MRI shows he has a reduction in the activity in his Amygdala - he does not experience fear the way the rest of us do
And there is much, much more to take into account in the changes that a person experiences becoming an adult.
We have a tendency to see interactions from our own point of view, perspective, when we are interacting with a teen this perception is likely to be incorrect a fair amount of the time. The fact you will have an opinion is inextricably linked to the fact that from the teens perspective - you are wrong.
what - this one was not too long!
The teen is experiencing this and the older experienced person should have the maturity and experience in perspective taking, at least more experience than a teen.
While it may feel like that you cannot say anything right when dealing with a teen the key is to notice that you are feeling rigid in your approach.
After the interaction, notice your emotions, consider perspective taking and defusion from those awful thoughts about your offspring you love.