What is detachment

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Freedom through detachment

Like the defiant phase, puberty is a phase of separation from parents. The young people move away from their parents, their attitudes and perspectives. This is a necessary and normal process, without which it is not possible to find one's own identity. It does not mean that the young people now like you less or no longer respect you as their parents.

The children and young people have to and want to fight for new freedom within and outside the family. This also means that they try out themselves and their limits. In doing so, they make mistakes, but at the same time discover their own strengths and weaknesses, and they get to know themselves and their limits in the process.

In this difficult phase, young people have very different needs. On the one hand, they oppose their parents wherever possible. On the other hand, however, they need the parents as support and support in this difficult phase of development, which means saying goodbye to childhood, to the familiar and familiar.

How is the detachment process expressed?

Shrill, provocative and loud or withdrawn, dreamy and unreachable. This is how your child can present themselves during puberty. Because as different as people are, the process of detachment from parents manifests itself in different ways.

Often, however, an argument is an expression of separation from the parental home. The same-sex parents usually argue more violently. Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons are particularly close, they recognize each other in the other like in a mirror. On the one hand, demarcation arises, because during puberty many adolescents question the image of women or men of the same-sex parent. On the other hand, there is competition, which is often a bigger problem for parents, as they can clearly feel the growing strength of young people and thus their own aging.

The detachment does not always have to be expressed in arguments, shouts and outbursts of anger (conflict in the family). Some young people withdraw into a world of fantasy and dreams and seem to be no longer reachable. This variant also puts you as a parent to a hard test, in which you have to show a lot of patience and understanding for your child.

Circle of friends, clique, peer group

Another important aspect of the detachment process is the adolescents' turn towards their peers. The family is moving more and more into the background, the friends, the clique, the peer group are gaining in importance. Here the young people find orientation and security and have to prove themselves to their peers in order to find their place in the group. As painful as this detachment from the family is often for parents, it is just as important for the development of young people. Here they can experience recognition or rejection through certain behaviors and can develop into self-confident adults.

But how the process of detachment ultimately goes depends very much on the attitude of the parents. Some try to hold on to the child, others release the child and no longer care about what it is doing and where it is going. Both attitudes have negative effects on the development process. It is better if you, as parents, continue to be a caregiver and authority even through puberty and to adopt a supportive and controlling attitude. What is important is the balancing act between setting limits and leaving space.

Parents who succeed in this can count on the fact that their positive parent-child relationship will continue and that the young person will experience the relationship with the parents as help and orientation. These young people do not need to choose extreme and sometimes dangerous ways to break away from their parents.

How can parents support their child in the process of detachment?

Supporting the child in the process of detachment is not an easy task for parents. This process often triggers its own fears. On the one hand, the slow growth of children and their increasing strength illustrate how they are getting older and thus also a piece of their own weakness. These fears are justified, but must not be used as a reason for parents to hinder the normal process of detachment through excessive parental care or clasping. Even if it is difficult, parents should let go so that the relationship with their children can change into another - but not less intensive relationship - on an equal level.
“Freedom” is a central theme for the growing children. The freedom to make your own decisions and to be recognized and taken seriously because of or in spite of these decisions supports the path to adulthood.

Different hair color, piercing and tattoos

A good "exercise field" for parents to show themselves generously is, for example, the young person's clothes or hairstyle. Appearance and a demarcation from the parents on this point is very important to the young people now. They feel that they are being taken seriously when parents show generosity and respect their own ideas.

Especially in the phase of detachment, young people need stable and reliable relationships. Therefore, the art of parents now is to make them feel like they are available when they need the parents. Parents must therefore develop a high level of sensitivity in order to recognize when their child is looking for a conversation and emotional affection or needs physical contact.

Do parents have to put up with everything in this difficult phase?

No! Rebellion is part of the replacement process and is necessary for it. However, parents should always make their own limits clear. They do not have to accept border crossings such as verbal and non-verbal insults that hurt them.

Get involved with your rebelling child. Sometimes it is very exhausting. But only in this way can it learn that parents also have rights, freedom and values ​​that it has to respect. Even if it is currently in a difficult development phase.

First of all, it is important that you accept your child's insubordination as a normal stage in their development. As a parent, you have the task of defining new boundaries. This inevitably leads to sometimes violent arguments. Your child may not be very picky about their words. It will throw insults at you and they will hurt you. Then you have to make it clear to him that he is misbehaving and hurting you by his behavior.

If you can do it, don't yell this at him during the argument. It is more effective if you seek a conversation with your child after everything has calmed down again. This does not mean that your child will stop yelling, insulting, hurting you in the future. You have to show him that he has hurt you with his behavior and that you are drawing a line there.

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Further information

Parents letters

This topic can be found in the letters from parents ...