Psychologists and various social scientists often talk about the theoretical concept of separation, and the need for adolescents to separate from their parents and families and establish their independence.  Adolescence is thought of as a time when teenagers venture out on their own to discover themselves, so that they can come back to their families as fully individuated adults.  Fat chance.  The simplistic notion of independence versus dependence in the context of separation is outdated and inaccurate — if indeed it ever was a reflection of reality — and it needlessly pits parents and teenagers against one another.  Connection is the foundation of a healthy parent-teenager relationship — a connection that is based on interdependence.

Therefore, you need to erase the idea of separation from your mind and replace it with the concept of extension.  That is, during adolescence teenagers need to extend away from their parents, all the while staying connected to their parents.  Their job is to extend; your job is to connect.

Staying Connected To Your Teenager:  How To Keep Them Talking To You and How To Hear What They’re Really Saying, by Michael Riera, PhD, p. 4

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