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The changes which teens go through during puberty and adolescence will undoubtedly affect them, but it will also affect the parents.  Recognizing and adapting to these changes is important in preventing negative developmental outcomes which may have a ripple effect on the adulthood of the adolescent but also on the relationship between parent and adolescent.

Adolescence is a transition from childhood to adulthood, therefore, the adolescent is no longer a child, but also not a full-fledged adult.  Due to their developing brains, adolescents will generally feel attracted towards living independently and are likely to struggle with parents for more freedom and control, therefore creating tension.

However, unlike with children, parents can discuss issues with their adolescents, as, with their new thinking and reasoning skills, they are more likely to respond to negotiation and explanations rather than simple demands.  Additionally, being open to discussion and giving space for teens to express their opinions sets for them an example of how disagreements, even in their future relationships as adults, can be resolved.

However, even with perfect parenting, adolescents and their parents may still experience conflict, and, although seemingly negative, research suggests that moderate amounts of conflict is normal, and may also be beneficial for the development of the adolescent.

 

– Alessia Camilleri is a first year Bachelor of Psychology (Hons.) student at the University of Malta. She is particularly interested in the counselling and family therapy. Alessia is an intern at Willingness.com.mt.