Whereas most people are warned that the blessed event of a new baby may challenge the romance in their marriage – not enough warning is given to parents of teens. Lulled by the relative calm of the school age years, they find themselves suddenly embroiled in the challenging journey of adolescence which extends anywhere from age 12 to 18 years.
Notwithstanding the love parents have for their kids and for each other, most parents will agree that the teen years can stress even the strongest of marriages. Why?
A close look suggests that the very developmental tasks that teens need to negotiate under the broad heading of “ Identity vs. Role Confusion” call into question the stability, predictability, authority, intelligence, sleep and even sexual patterns of parents.
A Saturday night spent nervously waiting up for your teen, while blaming each other for being too lax or too rigid rarely sets the mood for romance!
That said, it is important to consider that raising a teen does not have to equate to ruining a marriage. In fact, it is the last thing you want and the very last thing they need!
Three Guiding Principles:
There are three Guiding Principles that may help you and your teen on this journey: Balance, Communication and Connection.
What makes them effective is that they not only help adolescents deal with the developmental tasks that transition them to adulthood; they are the same principles that help partners strengthen their own relationships.
Teens Struggle with Balance
Basic to the challenges and chaos of adolescence—most teens have trouble with balancing everything from emotions, to friends, to school assignments.
- Issues are presented in life or death terms.
- People are loved or hated within a short span of time.
- Actions are rarely considered in terms of consequences
- Independence is professed while dependency demanded.
- The world revolves around their lives.
- Ever changing versions of how they look, what they believe, what they eat, and what they need leave little room for negotiation.
Parents Can Strike a Balance
- Given history, gender, and personality, it is not unusual for parents to become seduced by their teens or polarized into extreme positions.
Why can’t I …