Adolescence is the hormonal cracking of childhood, while bounding into adulthood with hopes of immortality and dreams of doing whatever they wish to do. Adolescents need adults to be there for them.

Guiding adolescents and supporting their innocence by close, meaningful, committed connection is vital for their optimal growth into adulthood. Adolescents need many healthy adults and peers to guide, teach, encourage, enjoy, and love them so they can grow secure, sturdy, healthy roots. It is the adults’ job to model individuation by being in the background, coming into the foreground when support is needed. Healthy adolescence is a time of leaving and returning to the family, progressively venturing farther afield.

I Have Learned
... that adolescence is a wonderful time of life in which we cross the river that separates childhood dependency from adult freedoms and responsibilities. Adolescents focus on themselves and how they will be in the world. They are more concerned about what brings them meaning and happiness than what makes others happy. As they are looking into entering the adult world, it can be most overwhelming. Unsupported adolescents are at high risk of falling through the cracks into unhealthy development, making choices that endanger them, or choosing relationships that give them a codependent sense of safety. During the time adolescents are learning to stand on their own and find their way, they need adults’ on-going kindly attention to hear them and be most respectful of who they are, what they believe, and what they stand for. They need compassion, guidance, healthy feedback, support to actualize their path, respectful limit setting, love, and compassion.

Musings on Adolescence, With a Sense of Adventure
Adventure is a passion for most adolescents who tend to seek out the unexpected and the unknown. How did your parents guide and care for you during your adolescence? Who of your family and friends were your primary sources of positive learning and support? What memories stand out for you during your adolescence? How do those memories affect you today? What vows did you make during that time that you still live by? Which of these vows about yourself and your life do you wish to change, if any?

May you consider how applicable the promises and decisions you made to yourself as an adolescent are now. Then gently re-examine their rightness in your present life. Allow yourself to let go of what does not work for you, and move forward with a fresh start. By doing this you may experience a breakthrough.

My commitment to being kind, interested, and supportive to all adolescents’ well-being is ...

The above is an excerpt from Welcome Home to Yourself: A therapist and photographer explore the meaning of life through individual lenses—a mother and son’s journey published in 2008 by Relationships Matter Publishing Inc.

Author's Bio: 

Suzanne Kyra is a Registered Clinical Counselor, self-empowerment specialist, workshop leader, international speaker, consultant, and clinical supervisor at the Psychology Clinic with Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada. She is the author of the award winning book, Welcome Home to Yourself, which is about living authentically in harmony with self and nature. Kyra has over three decades experience in all areas of human development, and is an expert in developmental stages, parenting, intimate relationships, and abundant living.