Monday, September 16, 2019

Adolescence (12-18 years)

Developmental Task

To develop separate identity from parents’.

Characteristics of this Stage

Child normally gradually pulls away from the family, physically, socially and emotionally. Child develops interests apart from either parent and resists “family activities.” Child challenges adults’ ideas and asserts independence.

Signs of Stress

Breaking rules and acting out. Withdrawal, isolation and depression. Abuse of alcohol or drugs. Suicide threats or attempts. Poor school performance. Loyalty conflicts which lead to cutting off contact with one parent and avowing loyalty to the other. (Note: Adolescents often suddenly and unpredictably switch loyalties from one parent to the other, in their attempts to cope with the conflict.) Youngsters may become the hurting parent’s caretaker, sacrificing time with the friends and outside activities.

Child Needs

Protection from loyalty conflicts. Consistency of rules across households. Timely professional attention to any significant school, behavioral, or emotional problems. Flexible schedule of time-sharing that shows respect for and fits the youngster’s schedule first, and the parents’ schedule second. Usually, adolescents prefer having one home base and spending flexible time with the other parent.