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teenagers defined

If children grew into teenagers in a kind of idyllic vacuum, they would still spend these years moving inexorably away from their parents, learning who they are as individuals separate from who they are as a member of our family. it seems so unfair. As parents we spent 12 years embracing them, cultivating patience, boundaries, laughter, rules, and rhythms, and then the flow of the emotional tide turns and no matter what we do, teenagers orient themselves away from us.  

The tricky part is that this occurs in a dance between our teenagers and society.  In media-dominated modern society, this means interacting with drugs, alcohol, media, violence, unsavory sexual behavior, and unethical role models. All this in addition to the daily risks inherent to driving, traveling, working anywhere in the world. When your 15-year-old calls out 'Bye' and gets on his bicycle with nothing more in mind than attending soccer practice and spending the night at a friend's house, we really don't know what challenges fate will set before him.

Is being a teenager the same around the world? Puberty (bodily changes) comes upon every child in these years. 'Adolescence' is a newer category of development.

If your child was born non-traumatically into the world, spent the next five years close to you, one or two years being nursed, being carried, being mirrored, moving through his or her developmental milestones smoothly (smiling, cooing, crawling, walking, talking, playing and imitating), and if nothing terribly distressful occurred (death, divorce, illness, injury) or if it occurred then it was not hidden away but dealt with honestly and made part of his or her conscious story, then chances are that your teenager will also be capable of maintaining that love even during the most trying of rebellious years. Our job as parents is to stand it, to be there when needed, and to guide without demeaning. Parenting is never effortless but this is a very arduous time.

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