Adolescent years redefine relationship with parents

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David Hancock, Staff Writer

The high school years are fraught with conflicts and complications for both parent and child. Ever intensifying schoolwork, time-consuming jobs, the all-important social pressures, and a teenager’s growing need for independence can drive a wedge between them and their parents.
The parent-teen relationship can influence a teen’s journey through adolescence more than any other, so maintaining a healthy relationship with parents is crucial to navigating in this transitional period.
“It’s gotten, not really distant, but less close because as I spend more time in school and I have to spend time in work and our time doesn’t really match with each other,” junior Marso Beltran said. “We don’t sit around the table and talk about stuff anymore.”
Many other high school students find it similarly difficult to fit a close relationship with their parents into their already full plates.
At the core of all the things that create distance between parents and their teenagers is the hard-to-grasp idea of independence. High school is a time where children grow into adults, which can be very scary for parents as many mutinous teens battle their parents for control of the helm.
“Our relationship’s changed because I want to get more independent, and they have a hard time letting go,” senior Kyle Ghan said. “So they’re trying to hold on too tight and then they don’t let me do things so then we end up getting into arguments.”
Even as freshmen, students are beginning to sense their newfound independence.
“They [my parents] give me more privileges and responsibilities,” freshman Gavin Telitz said.
From the start of their freshman year until the time they graduate, most students enjoy newfound rights they have obtained by becoming a high school student. These rights include having a later curfew, being trusted at home alone, obtaining a driver’s license and perhaps even a car — leading to packing up and leaving for whatever the future may hold.
Growing up can be very frightening to both students and parents, but both sides must be willing to face the challenges and responsibilities in order to succeed.
While independence is something that all high school students crave, most don’t want to be independent all the time. Most teenagers would agree that it is nice to have someone to take shelter in when the storms of life become too difficult to handle.
“I’ve come to them [my parents] a lot for help with sports, schoolwork, how to do things not concerning school, and you know what?” senior Delaney Byrne said. “I think it’s brought us closer.”
No matter how old a person is, the feeling that someone will have their back no matter what brings them a sense of comfort, despite how cool and independent they pretend to be. There’s a line though, one that many teenagers struggle to find. Some never fully grasp the idea that they can do things themselves instead of going through life relying on others to get them through rough waters, while others are so independent they very foolishly believe that they have everything figured out and can do everything on their own.
The most functional relationships between teens and parents seem to happen when both parties understand the responsibilities of growing up.
“The more freedom I’ve given him [my son]… the more he values that freedom,” English teacher and student government advisor Laura La Rue, whose son is a junior, said. La Rue says honesty and understanding between her and her son have helped improve their relationship.
Senior Carmen Oaks, who said her relationship has improved with her parents since the start of high school, offered this piece of advice: “Don’t keep many secrets.”