Monday, January 20, 2014

Parent-Teen Battle

When Dino came with his Mom to see me, I wasn't sure if he was going to get sick, tremble, or shout. He was frozen, unmovable. He refused to speak and looked like Rambo while glaring at his Mom. His eyes flashed a lot of anger while his Mom was telling me their story..

The tears of his Mom laid bare her severely fractured relationship with her 17-year-old son. She recited a sad litany as if she's a victim of a plane crash. In her own words, her suicidal and raging son couldn't get his act together.

I know, it's the familiar "generation gap" between parents and teens raising their fists at each other from opposite sides. But, compared to older generations, the parent-teen gap seems different now. These days, it's no longer about differences in hairstyles, clothing, or musical tastes. I'm hearing today's teens wishing a variety of expectations and having more extended arguments with their folks. The wounds look unique. more colorful.

Here's a danger. Nowadays, most parents don't know their teens. One reason is, because they don't spend time together. There is no connection. So, to compensate for their empty home lives, teenagers look outside for validation, esteem, identity, support. That makes them easy targets for gangs, cults, drug dealers, addicts, and sexual predators. Just look at the headlines.

The good news is there is hope and help available.  Yes, the wounds can be healed when both teens and their parents choose to work through the issues that divide them. Parents and teens can break down walls, unlock the doors, and welcome each other back into one another's lives again.

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