WHY DON'T WE UNDERSTAND OUR TEENS AT ALL ?
by Christella Pellé-Douel for Psychologies magazine
A WORRYING AND THREATENING TRIBE, TEENAGERS ARE OFTEN VIEWED AS ALIENS FROM A DIFFERENT PLANET. HOWEVER, WE CAN DECIPHER THEIR STRANGE BEHAVIOR AS WELL AS OUR ADULTS' REACTIONS. ANALYSIS OF A MISUNDERSTANDING.
BECAUSE WE'RE JEALOUS
How can we peacefully watch our own child becoming handsome and having a sex life? " When we say teenagers have a strange behavior, states Serge Hefez, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, we're talking about ourselves, of our fear of growing old, of how anguished we are to be separated from these future adults. This goes for everybody: the media, institutions, therapists..." And this fear expresses itself through negative judgments, violent rejection of teenagers, what Philippe Gutton, a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and the manager of the quarterly publication " Adolescence " honestly calls " adult provocation."
If we add to this we're demanding that teens be healthy, be interested in everything, don't get angry and be successful students- in short that they correspond fully to what an adult expects, neglecting their emerging expression of their individuality and individuation-, clashes and misunderstandings are round the corner. Jasmine, aged 19, is a good example: " My parents are divorced. Until I was 14, everything was rather going fine and normally...My stepmother was quite nice. And then I grew up really fast. In one year, I was 176 centimeters tall and had a big bosom. My stepmother's attitude changed completely. She became aggressive, she'd make comments about my clothes, my friends...My father pretended not to know anything about it. I couldn't stand it, I didn't want to spend the weekend at his place anymore. And of course, this caused massive fights with my mother. So I locked myself in my room, I didn't want to talk to them any longer, and my work was disastrous at high school..."
Article translated by Anne-Marie Barré, Rennes, France