‘Aborrescents’: why are parents so afraid of adolescence?

After nine months of pregnancy, fathers and mothers have a child. They feel happy, although perhaps somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility. The first months are hard: establishing breastfeeding, sleeping, dealing with crying… Then, as the weeks go by, they begin with the introduction of solid foods, with the choice of nursery school or with the time to remove the diaper. Then comes Primary, exams or homework… Until, almost without realizing it, one day your son is no longer so small. He is already taller than they are; he wears bigger shoes; he talks in a strange way or locks himself in her room… She has arrived: the feared and hated adolescence. Is it true that this vital stage ends the bond between the parents and their offspring?

Sara Desirée Ruiz, social educator and adolescent specialist, agrees that there is a negative image around this stage, so much so that it was what led her to develop her work on social networks to educate adults. “There is even a pejorative term to address boys and girls at those ages: abhorrent, something that he hates, that annoys”, he exemplifies. The expert adds that she finds many fathers and mothers who long for adolescence to end quickly, as if they wanted to get rid of something bad: “And that is dangerous because it is just at that moment when important decisions for adult life are made. If they are not accompanied, it will not be possible to help them in that transition”.

for the lawyer Laura Mascaromother of two children homeschoolers and author of the book Where does the money grow?, the disconnection occurs when the children are enrolled in school: “When the child enters school, he separates from his parents. Parents spend hours away from their children, and thus a disunity occurs between them. That is when the conditions that will foster the conflict are sown ”, she assures. The idea of ​​separation between parents and children is also defended by the American teacher John Taylor Gatto, who says in his book Weapons of Mass Instruction (2016) that parents are encouraged to leave their children on long school days so that they can feed the economy.

The negative view of adolescence is fostered, to a large extent, by the media, social networks, or even movies or series. “At the end of the pandemic, when young people made big bottles, many media pointed to them as those responsible for contributing to the transmission of the virus. However, very few asked about their needs. Adolescents suffered a lot with confinement ”, recalls Ruiz.

In the 21st century, young people are seen as ninis, but formerly they passed from childhood directly to adult life. Hence the idea that adolescence is a modern invention. “In the 18th century it was normal to see army captains under 18 years of age. However, a 15-year-old boy in 2022 is in a bubble”, says Mascaró. “He continues to be treated like a small child”, he continues, “he spends hours at school and, in the afternoons, his parents take him to more classes in English, karate, piano… Young people don’t need more classes of, but to do a job.” As this expert explains, adolescents want to feel useful: “However, they are not allowed to.” In addition, the lawyer defends their inclusion in volunteer groups or signing up for the Scounts so that they feel that they cooperate, work and help in some way.

Boys are not allowed to grow up when it is their turn and, at the same time, small children are pushed to do so before their time. The American sociologist Neil Postman wrote in his work The Disappearance of the Childhood (The disappearance of childhood, for its translation into Spanish) on the idea of ​​the artificial extension of children. This consists of minors being forced to leave childhood prematurely by learning about violence, sex and other issues of the adult world before being emotionally prepared for it, due to their exposure to television, which was increasing in 1982, time when Postman wrote his book.

In Ruiz’s opinion, adolescence does exist, and he understands it as a series of transformations that are not only physical, but also emotional: “It has been proven that a succession of brain changes. It is a maturational event in which neuronal pruning occurs. All young people feel fear and emotional discomfort, although within different cultural circumstances. The way of feeling, thinking and relating changes. They are developing people.”

What parents should do

And what should be done as parents of a boy who is entering adolescence? For Ruiz it is a brilliant stage, full of opportunities and serves to lay the foundation for adult life: “You have to live it with curiosity and emotion. It is true that in many families this vital stage catches the parents at an age They already feel tired and want peace of mind, but what I advise is that they learn about this moment that their children are living, find out, ask questions”.

For his part, Mascaró invites parents to ignore the messages that label adolescence as an enemy; Give family connection a chance and reach out to meet your child: “You have to see the child for who he is. If you don’t know how, because we disconnected from it in the past, then it is necessary to know it, reconnect and accompany it now”.

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‘Aborrescents’: why are parents so afraid of adolescence?