Puberty: Between freedom and consistency

Puberty is a time that most parents find scary and the adolescents with uncertainty. Both sides must learn in this phase, to face conflicts and to keep the balance between borders and open spaces. Parents have to learn to let go at the same time and to continue to hold the children.

Conflicts are necessary

But unlike most people, puberty is more than just a single crisis. As a phase of development and replacement, with growing awareness of the environment and adults, there are frequent - and especially necessary - conflicts. The relationship between parent and child is being redefined, with an uncertain outcome, but by no means hopeless. Only: There are no patent recipes, because as unique as the people are as children, so unique is their development to the adult.

Shelter in the cave

Annika is 13 years old. If you meet her occasionally on the street she looks grim. Her face is full of pimples, her hair is pitch black, and according to her mother, she is sitting in her gloomy room - a typical behavior of the adolescent.

One of the most famous German educational experts, Jan-Uwe Rogge, likes to use the Hummer as an example to explain puberty: He is the only animal that goes through puberty. At first the meat grows and then the tank. To survive, the lobster retreats into deep dark caves at the bottom of the sea. Meat and tanks grow here in the depths. And this example has a lot to do with Annika and other adolescents.

"An adolescent becomes thin-skinned, vulnerable, loses the shell between 10 and 13, and, to survive, her lobster disappears into his den, a nursery called a nursery that is carefully sealed against external oxygen. In the cave, the so-called scattering prevails. " Puberty comes from the Latin "pubertas" and means "manliness". This refers to the physical and mental developmental phase of the human being between childhood and adulthood.

In the case of girls, this is between 10 and 18 years of age in our latitudes, and between 12 and 20 years of age for boys. This phase of life begins when the brain-gland sends a signal to the body to produce certain hormones. During puberty it comes to sexual maturity.

Arguing: Communication is difficult, but important

Daniel, almost 14, hates it when parents talk for hours about a topic. "The babble is annoying, but if that were not, and I would not care and everything, that would not be ok." He describes the relationship with his parents, Hans and Ellen (both 46). They experience for the first time how their son grows up. They fluctuate between anger and understanding, generosity and rigor, but they argue - or argue - with Daniel, showing themselves now and then to compromise. And every day they try again, with varying degrees of success, because only rarely Daniel sees the rules.

"Do not try to make it right for your adolescent, that's impossible, " says Jan-Uwe Rogge. Because in order to become independent and independent, the young people have to detach themselves from the parents as the most important caregivers. This leads, for example, to demonstrated indifference, to the reduction of parents as useless or incompetent. Insubordination and rebellion against the previous norms occur and are regarded by psychologists as healthy and normal.

According to studies, a fifteen-minute quarrel with the mother occurs every 1.5 days for girls, six minutes every four days for boys. Strife, which should be especially clear to stressed parents, is required for replacement. Psychologists even argue that more conflict-less developments give cause for concern than conflict-rich ones. The task of the parents is to maintain their willingness to talk and thus offer support. Experts, incidentally, advise in the discussion to short and precise discussions without "word cascades" (Rogge), in which clear intentions should be formulated.

Set tightrope between boundaries and paternalism

Being able to quarrel with adults is also one of the many opportunities for development to explore limits. Educational scientists agree that borders, along with rules and agreements, are an absolute must at this stage - whether it be household help, set times of coming home, or tidying up. Excessive tolerance and lax rules also provide no basis for friction or strife, with the consequence that the adolescent is looking for other provocations, on the list of horror scenarios of many parents are then school failure, alcohol, drugs or smoking.

It may sound a bit old-fashioned, but rules and thus borders, provided that they have been agreed realistically and comprehensibly for all parties, provide orientation and support. The opposite of rules, however, are paternalism, punishments and prohibitions, to which the youth react with defiance and even aggression - and parents achieve nothing.

The "magic bag" - dealing with rule violations

Easier said than done, parents say - rightly so. Rule violations are commonplace among adolescents. Ignoring them is risky, because then parents become implausible, limits lose their validity, border crossings increase. Consequences of rule violations must be known to the adolescent in any case, as in the example of the "magic bag".

In his book "Puberty - Letting Go and Lingering" Jan-Uwe Rogge describes how a mother deals with the shoe-chaos of her pubescent sons: if the shoes are not removed after two requests, they disappear in a "magic sack", a simple sack, well hidden, for a week. This goes on until the sons have no shoes and need to go to school for stockings. Mind you, the mother was so consistent to get through this and in the end gained insight into that one point.

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