The third plane marks the end of childhood and the formation of adulthood or “I can stand on my own” and is characterised by self-concern and self-assessment. Your adolescent is a “humanistic and social explorer” who is developing emotional and social independence together with self-validation. Your adolescent is suddenly interested in their preferred gender/s and a great desire to become accepted by them becomes prominent for the first time. Just as puberty is hitting your adolescent with acne and all the other great (and not so great) changes, you will notice a sensitivity to their appearance develops. Be very reassuring and as non-judgemental as possible in these areas – adolescence is tough!
Peer groups and friends become even more important in this time as emotional independence develops and the adolescent positions themselves in society. Self-respect and recognition of contributions to society will be significant to your adolescent in this phase.
Your home and their school environments must have strong freedoms and limits whilst also providing protection during this time of problematic evolution. The adolescent needs opportunities to make actual real and meaningful contributions to society through real world hands-on activities and direct experience. Financial independence can be developed through the experience of earning and managing money – it might be time for that part time job!
Take away: This phase is as challenging and tough for both you and your adolescent as the first stage was for you and your bubba. Make sure you both take the time for physical activity, down time for reflection, processing or meditating is needed – maybe even a stiff drink or two is required occasionally (for you!).
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