British Psychologist and Author
British Psychologist and Author
[In early adolescence] she becomes acutely aware of herself as a being perceived by others, judged by others, though she herself is the harshest judge, quick to list her physical flaws, quick to undervalue and under-rate herself not only in terms of physical appearance but across a wide range of talents, capacities and even social status, whereas boys of the same age will cite their abilities, their talents and their social status pretty accurately.
Adolescence has been recognized as a stage of human development since medieval times--long, long before the industrial revolution--and, as it is now, has long been seen as a phase which centers on the fusion of sexual and social maturity. Indeed, adolescence as a concept has as long a history as that of puberty, which is sometimes considered more concrete, and hence much easier to name and to recognize.
Adolescence is society's permission slip for combining physical maturity with psychological irresponsibility.
Adolescent girls were fighting a mother's interference because they wanted her to acknowledge their independence. Whatever resentment they had was not towards a mother's excessive concern, or even excessive control, but towards her inability to see, and appreciate, their maturing identity.
Adolescents do get very angry with their parents, and acknowledging this anger is part of acknowledging them. If the anger is not acknowledged then its expression is increased. The parent seems super-strong. The adolescent tries to become the super-attacker.
Insults from an adolescent daughter are more painful, because they are seen as coming not from a child who lashes out impulsively, who has moments of intense anger and of negative feelings which are not integrated into that large body of responses, impressions and emotions we call 'our feelings for someone,' but instead they are coming from someone who is seen to know what she does. LESS
Parenting can be established as a time-share job, but mothers are less good "switching off" their parent identity and turning to something else. Many women envy the father's ability to set clear boundaries between home and work, between being an on-duty and an off-duty parent.... Women work very hard to maintain a closeness to their child. Father's value intimacy with a child, but often do not know how to work to maintain it.
Parents are never forgiven for not giving just the right response at the appropriate moment. Or, rather, there are particular times in the adolescent's or young adult's life, when a certain response is needed, and this need is not met, and the failure to meet this need is forever remembered, and is never forgiven.
Sexual activity, for women, has a history of vulnerability, in a way it simply does not have for men. The mother has to teach this hidden text to her daughter. The mother's warnings, her attempts to halt sexual development in her daughter, are not so much signs of disapproval or envy, but of fear. LESS
The family is constantly changing, as each member changes. Some changes we recognize as developments, and the pleasure they bring usually makes us more adaptable. Some changes threaten, or disappoint other members, who may try to resist the change, or punish someone for changing. LESS
When a mother quarrels with a daughter, she has a double dose of unhappiness hers from the conflict, and empathy with her daughter's from the conflict with her. Throughout her life a mother retains this special need to maintain a good relationship with her daughter.
One of the main tasks of adolescence is to achieve an identity – not necessarily a knowledge of who we are, but a clarification of the range of what we might become, a set of self-references by which we can make sense of our responses, and justify our decisions and goals.