It is no great surprise that the majority of the youth we interviewed were frustrated at one or more levels with their parents. In our interviews and sessions there were some surprising findings that came from students who made great transitions to college.


A vast majority of those who made great transitions still had the desire to please their parents intact. As we pondered this, it made sense. Youth who wanted to please their parents had a reason to avoid the activities that would pull them off course in the transition. The nature of the relationship between these students and their parents had been closer due to the independence they were extended which allowed them to develop their own internal desire to achieve. As a result a majority of these youth had their own vision for the future and had associated goals. This gave them an additional reason to avoid things that would distract them from their vision for their future.   Unfortunately we found this to be the case with only a fraction of the youth we interviewed. By contrast a majority were either looking forward to if not screaming for freedom from their parents.


Another piece of research supported YTN's findings. Notre Dame University found that 69% of teens wanted more parental involvement in their lives. This is a finding that many parents would find difficult to believe due to what they experience with their adolescents. YTN found that while a majority of youth wanted more parental involvement they were seeking a different type of involvement than parents were seeking to have.


The Notre Dame Study, combined with our research, calls into the question our cultural conclusion that "no matter what" there will be distance in the relationship and issues during the adolescent years. As a culture we have come to dread the thought of our kids’ becoming adolescents. This does not need to be the case.


YTN's research also found that the parent adolescent relationship left a majority of students looking for freedom and lead over 50% of those, with whom we interacted, to say their faith was their parents', not theirs.  Their focus on freedom contributed heavily to why so many high school graduates make the wrong decisions when they hit the college campus.


Parents who have engaged with YTN's program and adopted a different view of their role, one based on the leadership style of the Good Shepherd, made changes in how they engaged with their adolescents. These families report closer relationships, more influence and 70% to 90% fewer conflicts.  They also report a turn around in their kids' faith as they began to lead more like Jesus.


The parent adolescent relationship can be enjoyable, much more positive, and empowering. To experience such an outcome we must alter our view of adolescents and align our approach with the reality of the changes that occur within the adolescent brain. Altering our approach in these years allows our kids to remain connected to us, seek our involvement and maintain their desire to please us as they develop their own vision for the future. Our research indicates that this is critical if our youth are to avoid the common pitfalls of adolescence.