Parent Adolescent Relationship
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 intact the desire to please their parents. 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. 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 their 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. YTN found that this does not need to be the case if parents understand and adjust to the changes occuring in the adolescent brain.
YTN's research also found that the parent adolescent relationship and the fact that a majority of students were screaming for freedom from their parents contributed heavily to why so many graduates make the wrong decisions when they hit campus.
Parents who have engaged with YTN's program and adopted a different view of their role made changes in how they engaged with their adolescents. These families report closer relationships, more influence and 70% to 80% fewer conflicts.
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.