Crossing Paths: How Your Child's Adolescence Triggers Your Own Crisis

Overview

Adolescence is a difficult time for teenagers, but it can also be a troublesome time for their parents - a time of profound and even life-altering change. In Crossing Paths, family-relations expert Dr. Laurence Steinberg examines the impact on parents of their children's adolescence - and finds that confusion and conflict are as common for parents as for teenagers. Based on the findings of Dr. Steinberg's study of more than 200 families, Crossing Paths explores the emotional turmoil that a child's adolescence can...
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Overview

Adolescence is a difficult time for teenagers, but it can also be a troublesome time for their parents - a time of profound and even life-altering change. In Crossing Paths, family-relations expert Dr. Laurence Steinberg examines the impact on parents of their children's adolescence - and finds that confusion and conflict are as common for parents as for teenagers. Based on the findings of Dr. Steinberg's study of more than 200 families, Crossing Paths explores the emotional turmoil that a child's adolescence can initiate in parents and recommends practical ways to avoid or lessen that turmoil. The conflicts arise from a curious coincidence: Just as children enter adolescence, their parents are generally entering middle age. While they watch their child blossoming into physical maturity and making plans for a lifetime of promise and potential, parents must confront newfound physical limitations and a life dividing almost equally into past and future. Not surprisingly, many parents experience feelings of jealousy, regret, or powerlessness at their children's growing independence; others take advantage of this time to rejuvenate their own lives. Illustrating his analysis with anecdotes drawn from the experiences of the families in the study, Dr. Steinberg discusses the four major factors that determine a parent's susceptibility to an adolescent-induced midlife crisis. Written with warmth, sensitivity, and insight, Crossing Paths shows parents how to get through the worst flash points of an adolescent-induced midlife crisis and how to make this time an opportunity for positive change.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Aug.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671797584
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/5/1994
  • Pages: 288

Table of Contents

Part I Parents at Midlife 13
1 Crossing Paths 15
2 The Merricks 20
3 Parents in Crisis 31
4 The Teenager as Trigger 52
Part II Emotional Responses 77
5 Jealousy 79
6 Abandonment 98
7 Loss 115
8 Powerlessness 131
9 Regret 148
Part III Reverberations 165
10 The Spillover into Marriage 167
11 The Spillover into Work 187
12 The Spillover into Parenting 206
Part IV Growth and Crisis at Midlife 227
13 Declining and Thriving at the Adolescent Transition 229
14 Opportunities for Growth and Crisis 249
Notes 263
Bibliography 271
Index 275
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