We have come to think of teenage rebellion, a casting off of parental values and lifestyle and sometimes even of the parents themselves, as normal.
Teenage rebellion is so pervasive, but nature never intended this aberration to occur.
In healthy teenage development, the adolescent comes to form his own ideas, beliefs, opinions, and goals not to reject those of his parents but rather in respect of his parents. He can integrate these sometimes seemingly contradictory sets of ideas, beliefs, opinions, and values and be true to himself while living in harmony with his family. He can do "separateness" and "togetherness" at the same time, neither losing his self nor losing his relationship with his parents.
During this process of individualization of the teen, parents make more and more room for their child's expression of himself while continuing to nurture the secure attachment roots. By doing this, they are giving him two invitations:
- To exist in their presence;
- To bring his whole self into relationship with them.
The miracle of maturation unfolds in this context of secure and deep attachment.
This is the second of a 4-part series by Shoshana Hayman, Israel's regional director for the Neufeld Institute and founder/director of the Life Center in Israel. In Part 1, we explored the six roots of secure attachment. In Part 3, we will see how the teenage years serve as a sort of attachment test. In Part 4, we will learn how to restore secure attachment during the teen years if need be.