Family conflict

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Many parents discover that as their children move into the teenage years, there's an increased level of conflict in the family. In most cases, this is entirely natural. As teens begin to make the transition between adolescence and adulthood, they're confronted with many new freedoms, decisions, and responsibilities. This can be a trying time for both parents and their teens. Parents don't want to be overprotective, but they also don't want to be too lenient. Teenagers are generally enthusiastic about their newfound freedoms, but they don't yet possess the psychological and emotional maturity of an adult. As a result, conflict generally arises over boundary issues. Teenagers don't want to be treated like children, but parents realize that they're not yet prepared for full-fledged adulthood. To complicate matters, these boundaries remain in a perpetual state of change. Teenagers of seventeen can't be expected to abide by the same rules they did at fifteen, and parents are constantly having to adapt and renegotiate boundaries with their teens. This is why communication is vital. Parents and teens are more likely to be able to work through their problems when they communicate with one another in an atmosphere of understanding and mutual respect. However, if the situation deteriorates to the point where the teenager is unresponsive, violent, abusive, or depressed, family therapy may be necessary. For more information, consult a health care professional in your area.

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