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心の丸窓/Round window of the mind(39) Adolescense

心の丸窓は、心の杜の医師による心の診療に関するコラムです。

Round window of the mind is  the column about mental therapy written by doctors of Kokoronomori Shinjuku Clinic.


Adolescence is a very important phase of life for one's mental development, but at the same time, it is a very difficult time to pass through as well. And for the parents, too, it can be the time to bear the test. This time, I would like to think a little bit about this.


One of the tasks of adolescence is to adjust and accept their sexual bodies. The Oedipal conflicts (the wish to become a partner of the opposite sex parent and the conflicts with the same sex parent) revive in this period and it had to be worked through again. 


Another very important task is to establish their adult identity, in another word, to become independent from their parents. This task is far more difficult than one would imagine, because they also feel terribly anxious about themselves feeling inadequate and inferior to other adults. Denial of these anxieties could be one of the causes of their arrogant and contemptuous attitude towards adults. They need to fight with their parents and what represent parents, such as school teachers, authorities, etc. to gain their own sense of value or way of thinking. These attempts sometime take the forms of rebellious, or even, violent behavior. 


What can parents do with it? I think, it is very important to stay as an enemy for them, but with an understanding of their need to be rebellious. As I described, they need to fight with parental figure or authority to become independent. But they also need to know that parents are not really representatives of authority, but they represent hard reality to live with, although it can be unacceptable for them sometime. 


I am not saying that this process always would be safe and smooth. It could follow a tragic consequence. However, as adolescents need to realize, parents can not prevent the tragedy anymore as they could before, because parents do not have power to protect their children and themselves from adolescents' overwhelming impulse. And parents, too, have to painfully accept that their children are not children anymore, but they are to separate from them.


May the force be with you.


(Gugan)

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