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Crossing Paths: How Your Child's Adolescence Triggers Your Own Crisis Hardcover – August 1, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
The coincidence of children's adolescence and parents' middle years can spark devastating conflicts, stresses psychologist Steinberg ( Adolescence ). His study, based on 200 "normal" Midwestern families' firstborn children ages 10 to 14, reveals that after idolizing their parents, adolescents become prone to challenge their authority and lifestyle. The author, aided by freelance writer Steinberg, notes the havoc wrought on the mental health and relationships of couples and suggests ways to avoid some of the turmoil. Besides the usual "midlife crisis," parents are often beset by envy of their children, fear of abandonment or losing dominance, and depression--even sexual jealousy--that spills over into their work, while offspring assert their need for autonomy against one or both parents. The author of this sensitive and illuminating treatment recommends that adolescents "deidealize" their parents and that parents resist "disengaging" emotionally from their children. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A sensible analysis of the turmoil that adolescence triggers within parents. While most of the research regarding adolescence has centered on teenagers, Laurence Steinberg (Psychology/Temple Univ.; You and Your Adolescent, not reviewed) focuses on their parents, contending that when the firstborn child reaches adolescence, the entire family is affected. Adolescence, he argues, is often more stressful for parents than for the youngsters. He feels that the midlife crisis is triggered not so much by work or worries about physical decline, but ``by the intersecting journeys of the adolescent and the middle-aged parent.'' Recognizing the dramatic physical changes in their maturing children forces parents to confront their own aging and mortality. Watching a child's emerging sexuality can trigger a wide range of emotions, from mere discomfort to outright jealousy. It is not uncommon, contends Steinberg, for parents to compare themselves with their children; a father, for example, who was socially awkward as a teenager may find himself envious of his son's popularity. Along with adolescent social success comes the inevitable shutting out of the parents, which may make them feel abandoned. All of these feelings and reactions often spill over into marriage and work. Almost 90% of couples experience marital difficulties during their firstborn's adolescence. Steinberg backs up his thesis with many case studies, which are, however, not representative of diverse classes and cultures. He offers practical coping advice, urging parents to be aware of their conflicting emotions, to modify their family relationships to fit their child's emerging independence, and to nurture personal interests that allow them some distance from parenting. A practical, solidly researched and documented parents'-eye view of adolescence. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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