Screens are powerful — but dangerous — attachment tools

Shoshana-150x150It used to be the television.

Back in the 1980s, Neil Postman, professor of communication arts and sciences from New York University, said that television is a disastrous influence on children because it shortens their attention span, erodes their linguistic powers and causes them to become increasingly impatient. Perhaps even more serious, it opens up all of society’s taboos and secrets, thus erasing the boundaries between childhood and adulthood, creating a homogenized culture rather than a hierarchical one.

Today it’s the smartphone, computer and iPad.

The intrusion of even more kinds of screens in our lives is having an overwhelming effect on our families. Dr. Gordon Neufeld cautions that before we put these devices into the hands of our children and adolescents, we need to put rules and restrictions in place for their use. These screens are so addictive by their very nature that even we adults have a hard time turning them off and disconnecting from them. All the more so, we need to guard our children from becoming too attached to them.

My son and daughter-in-law recently noticed that their two daughters, ages 10 and 8, were spending too much time in front of the television and the iPad. They thought the girls would react strongly to the new rules they were about to begin enforcing, but were pleasantly surprised that the girls seemed to appreciate Mom and Dad taking charge of the screens.

After a few “screen-less” weeks, I asked how their new lifestyle was holding up and the results were exciting: The girls began asking their parents to take them to the library on a regular basis, and they are spending much more time reading. They are also playing outside more. The house is calmer and quieter without the background noise from the screens. The parents themselves feel calmer and have even looked for ways to restrict their own use of their smartphones. There is more space for real human connection and also for more creativity.

Child TVFreedom from screens provides psychological rest for the brain. When we are connected to screens, we are — in essence — seeking attachment, the default setting of our brains. Screens are powerful attachment tools, but the attachment they provide is merely a “fix” — it is superficial and fleeting, and this pursuit becomes addictive. It does not satisfy the real need for human contact and closeness, so both child and adult are driven to come back again and again for another fix — another attempt to fill this attachment hunger.

When parents restrict screen use for their children, they are helping their children come to rest from this futile pursuit. The brain shifts gears and can now rest from this futile pursuit. Only parents and other caring adults can give children fulfilling experiences of attachment and bring their brains to rest. This rest from the work of seeking attachment frees the child’s mind to explore and create like downloading a book and reading it thanks to sodapdf converter.

I like to write to my granddaughters by e-mail. Once a week, they can use their iPads to write to me and to other relatives. It’s just one example of how parents can show their children how to safely use screens without becoming addicted or controlled by them.

And as for the TV at my granddaughters’ house — it was relegated to a corner bedroom upstairs where it’s no fun at all to sit and watch!

A lesson in button pushing

Editor’s note: Welcome to APtly Said’s celebration of mothers! This year’s theme for Mother’s Day is “Life Lessons” as Attachment Parenting International celebrates with an inspiring series from May 7-11. We hope you enjoyed your Mother’s Day and were able to reflect on what you’ve learned through your motherhood journey.

Shoshana-150x150When my first son transitioned into toddlerhood, I discovered that I had a lot more to learn about raising children than I realized! The most compelling question I asked myself was how to preserve our warm and loving relationship when I also had to say, “No, you can’t have that,” or “No, you can’t do that.”

I still remember the day he was able to pull out the books from the lower shelf of a bookcase in our living room, crumpling and ripping the pages with his sweet, pudgy little hands. How could I stop him without hurting or alarming him? I thought about how challenging it was going to be to guide him without provoking his defenses against me.

The more he grew and became independent, the more insight I needed to navigate the daily incidents that cropped up and compelled me to steer him in the right direction. “We have to put the toys away before taking out more,” “Bedtime is now,” and “Homework comes before television,” were only some of the daily situations that I had to take charge of.

When our children are not inclined to follow our instructions, they push our buttons and we lose our patience. For the first time, it occurred to me that parents might be pressing their children’s buttons when we don’t understand what makes them react to us the way they do.

I have 6 children. As the years went by and I became more seasoned in my parenting, I saw how easily their buttons could be pushed — how easily they could become alarmed, frustrated, and insecure.

It was easy to get the right behavior out of children by scaring them, threatening them, warning them, or taking away things from them that they cared about. “I’m counting to 3, then I’m leaving without you!” has always brought forth the right behavior in young children, but at a very high price. When you push your child’s alarm button too often or too many times, the very system that alerts him to beware of a risky situation begins to work in a distorted way and new problems start showing up.

This is an even more startling revelation when it comes to adolescents, because this same alarm system in the brain continues to harden the defenses even more when their buttons are continually pushed. They become tear-less and fearless, as they lose their caring and other vulnerable feelings altogether. This is on a continuum and can potentially lead to addictions and other problem behaviors like cutting.

Hands TrustWhen my children grew past the years of breastfeeding and needing to be attached to me through physical closeness, I learned that I was only at the beginning of the attachment story. The work of attachment was my responsibility, so they could rest in the relationship and be free to discover their own selves.

It was not a given that the relationship would be preserved simply because it got off to a good start. The relationship was still fresh and tender, and still needed to be cultivated, secured and deepened throughout all the years ahead of us. This was to be the shield from hurtful people and environments outside of our relationship. A deeper attachment was the answer to ensuring a healthy alarm system and preserving my children’s ability to experience all of their vulnerable feelings, so they could develop meaningful and deep relationships as well as develop their individuality and the traits that characterize maturity.

I needed to keep my relationship with my children clean from wounding. Their buttons might have been pushed by their friends or even by their teachers, but I needed to be aware of not being the one to provoke their defenses. I wanted to be that safe place — a home base or haven — where they could feel rest and comfort, no matter at what age. This challenged me to find ways to stand by my rules and limitations, preserve order, and transmit values in a way that protected our relationship.

This was my greatest learning experience, so that I could do the most important work than any parent does — help my children grow up to be mature, responsible, caring, and considerate adults.

Helping children through divorce

Shoshana-150x150When a marriage breaks up, the effects on the children are the biggest cause of worry and source of guilt for parents. Children will now no longer be able to be with both parents every day. Sometimes they will not even be in the same city, is always recommended to search from help like Amicable who helps you to divorce online and communicate, and also you should know about Tiffany Fina Law. In such situation, you should try best lawyer to fight in court, browse this site for more information. If you are a parent who is facing a custody dispute in Kennewick, contact the experienced attorneys at Ashby law as soon as possible. Similarly, If you have been injured in car crash or any other accident, The personal injury lawyer can help you. For more information about injury, preferred this useful reference. You can ran a recent post to know more about the Los Angeles Domestic Violence law attorney.

In unfriendly cases, children are like ping-pong balls, bouncing back and forth as one parent uses the children to hurt the other parent. If you want professional legal advice on family matters, then look at this site now. In one case I counseled, the mother was afraid to re-marry because her ex-husband was trying to poison their son against her and the man she was dating. Everyone understands that divorce is an emotionally exhausting process, For more information about divorce you can try these out. If you want advice on this matter learn more here and get as well professional legal advice. After a divorce parents have no problem following their order to pay child support. Get More Information about Roanoke divorce attoreney. However, there are certainly cases in which parents either neglect child support payments altogether or can’t keep up with them. Delinquency cases such as these face consequences and penalties. To know more about enforcing support click here. Other than this if you are convicted of a violent crime, a jail or prison sentence is likely. You are going to need serious legal defense help fast, Get More Info here about violent crime. Most personal injury cases involve the concept of negligence. It can be difficult to define the meaning of negligence, but it typically refers to careless behavior that results in injuries or property damage, Then check here for more updates about injury law. On this website you can find out what are the most contested matters in California divorce ?

Priority #1: Keep Children Attached to Both Parents

Children have deep attachment needs. These needs continue throughout their adolescent years. They would prefer their parents stay together, even

in a bad marriage, understand what child support covers is a really important aspect during this process, provided that there is no abuse involved, so that these needs can be fulfilled sufficiently. Maturing adolescents, who think critically and idealistically, wonder why their parents can’t solve their differences peacefully and stay together.

Before the age of 6 — and sometimes after — children are not able to maintain connection with two people simultaneously. Because attachment energy polarizes like a magnet, when parents are not on the same side, the child gravitates to one parent or the other and lets go of the other parent. This polarized energy automatically causes a child to reject the parent she is not actively attaching to. It’s important to have good divorce and separation legal advice on this hard times. The child is no longer orienting to the rejected parent, and no longer wants to be with or behave for this parent.

The child cannot control this. This is simply how the attachment brain works.

When parents are conscious of how this polarity causes chaos in the child’s attachments, they can work together to keep the child attached to both parents. This takes a tremendous amount of maturity on the part of the parents. The best outcomes for children of divorced parents result when the parents continue to act in the best interest of their children’s developmental needs and make the daily effort to keep their children connected to both parents, how we can help in this case? Mediation gives you and your spouse the opportunity to negotiate a divorce settlement in a structured setting through a trained facilitator. This is possible when parents are conscious of these dynamics and have the yearning to do what’s best for their children.

In spite of their separation as a couple, parents can remain united in their parenting. This means that each parent has to endear the other parent to the child. Speaking well of the other parent, affirming the other parent’s love for the child, finding ways to hold the child close to the other parent — these are all ways of staying on the same side of the attachment magnet.

As one divorced mother said, “It took a lot of strength, but I tried to give a clear message to my sons that I was ready to listen to their daddy stories and comment in a friendly, accepting way. I also told them good stories about their father, so they would think highly of him.”

Editor’s note: Read more of what this looks like in the Attachment Parenting home on API’s The Attached Family, including “What Co-parenting Looks Like for Us,” “Co-parenting Basics” and “It’s Not About You…It’s About Them.

Priority #2: Make Room for Children’s Strong Emotions

Divorce creates inner and outer turmoil for both parents, making it difficult to concentrate on the needs of children and the turmoil they are experiencing. Parents need to make room for their children to express their frustration, sadness, disappointment, missing, helplessness, fear, worry, guilt and alarm, we recommend to make the process easier with the help from the divorce lawyer melbourne firm. These are vulnerable feelings that need to come out if the child is to recover from this loss and continue to develop in a healthy way.

At least one parent needs to be the place where the child can bring his feelings, thoughts, worries and tears.

While parents don’t like to see their children unhappy, it is much better to allow these feelings to come out than to pretend that everything is fine. It’s no surprise when children in this situation act aggressively and antagonistically. Beneath the surface lies a deep frustration and a need to mourn this great loss. Children need safe outlets for this aggression — together with a parent — such as hitting pillows, jumping on the trampoline, pounding clay or another safe way to discharge this energy. With a private investigator Columbia SC you can avoid getting divorce and find out if your partner is cheating.

When children can express their vulnerable feelings to a parent and see over time that they can have independent relationships with both parents, they can recover and grow through this experience.

Give your child what school cannot — rest for the brain — and free them to grow into their own

75428_8708Becoming mature is not inevitable. Not all children enter the adult world able to hold on to themselves while, at the same time, mix with others.

For some adults, the ability to respect the boundaries and values of others, and still keep their own, is not an easy to do. For these adults, having their own opinions and ideas — while being able to listen and consider those of others — is also not something that characterizes their interactions.

Our schools are investing resources and energy into trying to teach children how to behave maturely and get along with others. Movies are being produced to teach about respecting feelings. Programs are being designed to combat bullying. None of these things can produce long lasting results and they can even affect your child’s ability to learn and do well in school. If your child isn’t doing well in school then you can think about getting them a math tutor or taken them to an after school learning program.

No matter how hard we try to work at it, mature character traits that are needed to get along in the world cannot be taught: They grow within, when the conditions are right.

Shoshana-150x150I am reminded of what is missing — and what is possible — when I think of  Mark and Dan.

The boys are brothers. Mark is 12, and Dan is 10. They are two years apart in school, and neither one of them was happy when I met their family. Mark had the saddest expression I had ever seen on a child’s face. Dan’s face was hardened, and there was no light reflected in his eyes. I listened to their stories and encouraged their parents to listen to their stories.

It was then that their parents realized that Mark and Dan were lacking the fundamental conditions for growth and maturation, and they set about to provide those conditions. Nature worked its miracles, and within several months, the extraordinary process of emergence was in full bloom. Both boys were filled with vitality, venturing forth energy and a desire to learn. With the start of summer vacation, Mark and Dan had each planned his own schedule of activities that included areas of study they each wanted to explore.

There are many ways to reach this state of creativity, exploring and discovery. We are fortunate if we can be in this state of being at least part of the time in our lives. When we know what conditions our children need in order to be in this state, we can make sure they are being provided.

What Mark and Dan’s parents provided for their sons was…rest. All growth takes place in a state of rest, including psychological growth. They made sure their sons had rest from worrying about results all the time: good grades, academic achievement, keeping up with the standards. They made sure they had rest from activities that distracted them from their own thoughts and creativity, like computer games, iPads and play dates. They made sure they had rest in their relationships, that they could feel a big enough invitation in their attachment to their parents so the relationship would be secure and become deep.

Mark and Dan’s parents found that providing rest was so much better than seeking behavior-modification techniques or psychological assessment. Their parents’ eyes shifted from seeing what was wrong with their sons to what conditions for growth their sons were missing. Their efforts at providing rest were much more fulfilling, natural and intuitive than the standard advice that is usually given. And the fruits were so much sweeter: the blossoming curiosity, emergent creativity and natural love of learning that characterize all children when they are young.

Can our schools provide this quality of rest for our children?

I would like to think that this potential exists within our system. There are good intentions to make school feel like home and to give individual attention to students.

But until the focus moves away from getting the end result immediately through programs that emphasize academic achievement and social and emotional learning, children will not have the psychological rest they need that frees their curiosity, their natural love of learning and the growth of their capacity to integrate well with others.

Our focus needs to move to providing the right context and conditions that make it possible for growth to unfold and for human potential to develop. This is the source of our hope for the next generation of adults.

There’s a monster under the bed

Shoshana-150x150When I was a little girl, I was certain there was a monster hiding under my bed, waiting to grab my feet and drag me under the bed! To fool him, I would take a running leap onto my bed at night. Sometimes I thought that I jumped too close to the bed, so I would do this over again, until I was sure I jumped from far enough
away. This little ceremony would repeat itself every night.

At a young age, children can become obsessive and compulsive, behaving in ways that are quite illogical. I’ve spoken to parents whose children’s compulsive behaviors are baffling and appear in many different ways:

  • One 4-year-old girl obsessed about the star behavior chart her mom made for her. She talked all day long about winning stars. “Will I get a star?” “Will you remember to give me star?” “If I do it again, can I get another star?” Her efforts to win those stars became quite compulsive.
  • One 5-year-old boy became obsessive about the color green, the same color as his table in kindergarten. He insisted on wearing green slacks, eating from a green plate, drinking from a green cup, and on and on.
  • One 9-year-old girl developed an obsession about a girl in her class. She had to play with this girl exclusively in and after school every day, she forbade her to have other friends and her life focused around activities with this girl.
  • One teenager was obsessed about not gaining weight. She studied herself in the mirror regularly, checked the calorie count on food packages, and counted her calorie intake over and over again throughout the day.

free images.comWhat all of these children have in common is a persistent feeling of alarm and insecurity. Our brains are equipped with a delicate alarm system that is intended to alert us to things we should be cautious about. But we can only be careful and cautious when we know where the threat or danger is coming from. When we’re not aware of what is making us anxious and alarmed, our brain invents an explanation.

Sometimes the true source is camouflaged, because it’s too much to bear and the mind has to make up something because the real thing is too overwhelming. When “Mommy has to go to work” is too much for a child, her brain may invent the monster under the bed. When “The teacher doesn’t notice me” makes a child feel unsafe in kindergarten, the green table he sits at each day is the “safe zone” and the color green becomes the “safe color.”

These obsessions and compulsive behaviors provide cognitive back-fill and keep the true source of our alarm and anxiety at a distance. But then they keep repeating themselves, because they only give some temporary fleeting relief from the alarm and anxiety rather than address the true source, and so the alarm and anxiety keep returning and the obsessive-compulsive behavior repeats itself in another attempt to find relief.

Little by little, children discover that they can’t always hold us close, that Mommy or Daddy have to leave, that bad things can happen, that things we care about can spoil or get lost, that death is part of life.  Children can’t really explain why they feel unsafe, and we should not try to force them to talk about their insecurities. We should certainly not use these things to scare them into being good for us, such as, “I’ll give you the green shirt as soon as you put your toys away.” This only serves to increase the alarm.

We need to normalize our children’s worries and fears and help them express these vulnerable feelings. Children need plenty of room for this within the context of a safe and secure attachment relationship. We need to let them know we’re here for them and that we’re on their side.

One of my favorite stories is about a father whose daughter couldn’t fall asleep, because she was afraid of “the monster in the house.” He brought out his tool box and held the hammer in his hand while he gave her a screw driver to hold. Hand in hand, they went all around the house to search for the monster. Then they went outside and circled the house together. No monster.

“We must have scared him off,” the father concluded. Then the two of them sat down together, and he told his daughter about the monsters he confronted when he was a boy and how courage grows. At least for a while, this little girl slept soundly. The experience helped her feel that her strong father was holding her close in his heart and protecting her.

And that’s the best thing we can do for our children — not only when they get obsessive, but all the time.

The terrible, wonderful summer vacation

1205776_family_on_the_boardwalkIn a way, summer vacation reminds me of giving birth. When it’s over, we forget the difficult parts and look forward to the next one.

The next time we take a family vacation, hoping our children will get along during a long car ride, or walk quietly beside us on a family outing, we can expect that there will be complaining, whining, yelling, crying, hitting and fighting. They might promise they’ll cooperate, but these incidents will still happen. If we give them incentives or promise them rewards, these incidents will still happen. If we threaten them with punishments or consequences, these incidents will still happen.

I hate summer, I hate how hot the weather is, at least I had the great idea of calling hvac Columbia SC company to safe my family from how hot it was at home. The only way we could feel better was going to the pool or the beach, but you can’t stay there all day and night.

This is because children are children: They are not yet mature enough to always control their impulses and behavior. This is not a matter of age, but a matter of how far along they are on the road to maturation. The connections between the different structures of children’s brains are still in a stage of development.

This means that it’s not realistic to expect children to think and respond in ways that require more maturity than they are capable of.

For children to wait patiently when they want to go, walk quietly when they want to jump and shout, share when they want something for themselves or cooperate when there’s another impulse driving them, they need a fair level of ability to mix conflicting signals, thoughts, ideas and impulses together at the same time in order to find a tempered response. This means a child might have an impulse to hit his brother, but at the same he can remember that “we don’t hurt each other.”

When we understand that children can’t yet temper their impulses, we can take care of them without losing our own ability to mix our conflicting impulses and feelings: On the one hand, we feel angry and want to yell, but on the other hand, we want to respond calmly so we don’t hurt those we love!

Here are three ideas that can help transform a family vacation into a more satisfying experience:

  1. This is a wonderful time to deepen attachments with our children and satiate their hunger for connection with us. Activities that make it possible to have quiet time together for reflection and conversation strengthen and deepen relationships.
  2. When children are free from the structure of school, they often have an accumulation of frustration and other strong feelings that are trapped inside and have not yet found expression. Children need a lot of room for their big and noisy feelings, and when we provide them with generous amounts of warm connection with us, we help these feelings come out — sometimes together with a sea of tears that were stuck inside. After this, children are calmer and easier to direct and take care of. Children don’t intend to behave poorly or aggressively: Their self-control is still undeveloped. We want to remember our own good intentions, and stay in control of our impulses so we can lead intuitively with maturity, creativity and compassion.
  3. We can give our children little scripts to guide them through different situations. Just as the director of a play gives the actors a script and directs their acting, we can give simple, positive instructions to children before entering into a situation and then guide them as needed. For example, before going on a long car ride, visiting the home of relatives or going to a special attraction, we can explain expectations: “When we go into the museum, we’re going to walk and talk quietly. I’ll show you which things you can touch and which things are not for touching.” Scripting is a temporary measure that works well only in the context of an active, working attachment.

Summer vacation will have both terrible and wonderful moments. When we know that both will happen, and we can lead our children by responding thoughtfully to the circumstances that present themselves to us,  we can look forward to the season!

2 paths to adulthood…which will your teen take?

unnamedRaising teenagers is a frustrating business.

We are not sure how much freedom to give them or how much responsibility they can handle. We try to set limits, but we get lost in dealing with their defiance and counterwill. We are not sure when rebellion is healthy or when it is a sign of a deeper problem.

Interacting with them is confusing. Sometimes they behave like young children, yet at other times they seem adult-like.

One thing is clear: We have a responsibility to help them cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood successfully.

Crossing this bridge has become a much longer and more arduous journey than ever before. In traditional societies, this bridge was quite short, as children moved directly into the adult world, marrying at a young age and integrating into their family’s farm or business, and community. Today young people have many more options to choose from.

For the first time in human history, there is a youth culture that has its own codes, dress and behaviors, setting it even farther apart from the adult world. As a result, there are many ways of getting stuck or falling off the bridge to adulthood.

Dr. Gordon Neufeld explains that nature has provided two paths to adulthood:

  • The first path is the master blueprint of maturation. This is the ideal path, but it is more difficult and less traveled.

This is the path to true maturation, where the adolescent discovers his true individuality and personhood. He has an explosion of awareness as he begins to think conceptually, reflectively and idealistically. He experiences the conflict and complexity of reality as he struggles to define his boundaries, priorities, values and goals. This path prepares him for integrating into society without losing his own true self.

It is exciting to see this remarkable and unique person emerge, discovering his own meanings and purpose in life!

  • The second path is nature’s back-up plan. This is the road of conformity, the detour to adulthood.

Culture pushes the adolescent towards this path when it is concerned about more about fitting into society. The child “learns” how he is supposed to behave, and he takes on the form that others prescribe for him. His energy is invested in  conforming rather than in discovering himself.

This is an acceptable way to reach adulthood, but it’s at the expense of the child’s true human potential.

Our role is to support our children’s journey on the path of maturation, all the way through the years of adolescence. We need to provide the right context — the right womb, metaphorically — for the birth of our adolescent’s own personhood. This context or womb gives us the ability to influence, guide and strengthen values. It creates a connection at the heart level and frees the spirit of the adolescent.

We need to provide them with times of meaningful involvement with us, so they can feel how important they are to us. We need to listen to their thoughts, ideas and opinions about how they understand the world. We need to initiate quiet walks together, meal times together and warm conversations with each other without the distractions of electronic devices.

We need to nurture this connection and make it easy for our teenagers to continue orienting to us, as they navigate the experiences in their lives that are often characterized by high drama, social confusion and immature perspective.

This vital connection also provides the context for another essential component of becoming an independent-thinking individual: creative solitude. In a world filled with social pressure and the never-ending distraction of smart phones, what’s up, and Facebook, we need to ensure islands of quiet space so our teenagers can explore their own ideas, interests, aspirations and creativity. Emergent energy can spring forth in this context.

We play a pivotal role in determining which path to adulthood our adolescents will travel — the path to true maturation or the path to conformity.

We live in a culture that believes teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to become independent. The opposite is true.

Teenagers have the best chance of becoming truly independent and responsible when they can depend on their parents and other caring adults to provide safe, secure and deep attachment through all the years of growing up.

Parents need to be the compass point

1021857_mother_and_sonIt’s normal to worry about how our children will turn out in the future. Will they accept the values and ideals that we want to pass on to them? Will they follow the path we hope they will take? Is there a formula or method that will assure us of these things?

There are no guarantees, but there are many things we can do to influence the outcome of our parenting. We could dedicate an entire book to this topic, but in this short space, we can highlight one important factor. This factor needs to be considered carefully, because it used to be taken for granted. It was a given in traditional cultures, but in modern society, it is less available.

This factor is the place of parents in their children’s lives.

I’m using the word “place” instead of authority, because “authority” has become overused and misinterpreted. Parents are told to be more authoritative, while at the same time, our culture is severely undermining parental authority.

Here’s one small example of how this happens: A mother recently told me that she met with her son’s teacher, guidance counselor and school psychologist. She wanted to explain that it was important that her son’s teachers develop a caring relationship with him. When she explained to them what her son needed, their response was, “You’re only the mother.”

In other words, “We are the professionals who know best what students need.”

In the past several years, there has been a groundswell of professionals — psychologists, psychiatrists, consultants and therapists — to take care of children’s “problems.” The attitude that professionals can assess and take care of children better than parents has weakened parents’ confidence in themselves as the answer to their children’s psychological, emotional and spiritual needs.

The attachment village, at one time, was more easily available for parents and children. It was the parents’ place to introduce their children to other adults who supported the family’s values. When the parent could depend on these adults, the child could be securely attached to all the adults in his life.

When a child’s attachments are disconnected from each other, the child can’t orient to both his parents and to other adults who serve as the parents’ support system. This also makes it more likely for the child to attach to other children instead of to adults, and then look to these children for direction.

This has a direct impact on our influence to pass on our values and ideals to our children, when they are young and even more so when they are teenagers. The assumption that teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to find their individuality is false, and well-meaning adults easily assume that teenagers need friends more than their parents.

Parents need to be the compass point for their teenagers no less than for their younger children.

Parents can do three things to reclaim their rightful place in the lives of their children:

  1. Assume responsibility to be your child’s compass point, guide, comforter and safe home base. You may not have all the answers, but it is more important to believe that you are the answer for your child, because no one cares as much as you do.
  2. Provide your child with secure and deep attachment, and continue to protect and nurture this relationship during all the years your child is growing up. This will give him the context he needs to internalize your values while he is developing more maturity and finding his own reasons to believe in these values.
  3. Make room for your child to express his own thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions and feelings. This will give him the room he needs within the relationship to become his own person. Listening to him without judgment will open discussions that give you a window into what he is exposed to and what he thinks about it.

This gives you the influence you need while helping him cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.