Teenagers and Guilt

Before going further, remind yourself of some of the key dynamics at play in your teenager:  extreme self-consciousness, idealized independence, and an abundance of ego.  Now imagine how guilt plays out in that natural psychosocial triumvirate that your teenager calls self.  Guilt is everywhere!  No matter that your teenager doesn’t give you a glimpse of his guilt, you need to know that it’s there, everyday.  And in huge portions.  He just hides it behind the closed bedroom door and the loud music blasting from his stereo.

In brief, guilt is part and parcel of every teenager.  If you heap on needless portions, it blows up in your face, which means hasta la vista to the connection between you and your teenager.  Focus on his integrity and stop short of playing the parent martyr.

— Michael Riera, PhD, Staying Connected to Your Teenager, p. 163

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