Teenagers and peers

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Teenagers and peers

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It's quite normal and typical for teenagers to be pulling away from parents, whether it's healthy or not, depends upon the reason. The healthiest reason is that the teenager wants to become his own person, wants to think for himself, have his own meanings, have his own motivation. Sometimes, the attachment gets a bit suffocating and the teenager begins pushing away. That's the best reason. It is developmentally natural. It's important. Unfortunately, many of our teenagers are pulling away for an unhealthy reason. Peers have replaced parents in their lives. They are orbiting their lives, looking to them for answers. Looking to peers to know what to do, how to act. I call this, peer orientation. When our adolescents become peer oriented, they are pulled out of orbit from the adults that are responsible for them. They are pulled away from us, but for all the wrong reasons. Peers can't bring each other up. To raise them, we need to preserve our attachments to them. We need to be able to hold onto them for as long as they are not, yet, ready to enter their world as separate beings.

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Gordon Neufeld, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Dr. Gordon Neufeld is a Vancouver-based developmental psychologist with over 40 years of experience with children and youth and those responsible for them. A foremost authority on child development, Dr. Neufeld is an international speaker, a bestselling author, Hold On to Your Kids and a leading interpreter of the developmental paradigm. Dr. Neufeld has a widespread reputation for making sense of complex problems and for opening doors for change. While formerly involved in university teaching and private practice, he now devotes his time to teaching and training others, including educators and helping professionals. His Neufeld Institute is now a worldwide organization devoted to applying developmental science to the task of raising children. Dr. Neufeld appears regularly on radio and television. He is a father of five and a grandfather of three.

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