Clash Of Midlife And Adolescence

It’s a nasty joke that many men and women are dealing with their own midlife issues at the same time their children are exploding as hormonal adolescents.  Just as mom and dad question, “What have I done with my life?” their most precious project slams a door in their faces screaming, “I hate you!”  Just as mom and dad ask, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” their teenager asks for shoes that will cost today’s salary and a car or a college that gives her parents a glimpse into their futures – work forever.

When teenagers are obsessed with their daily ups and downs, the lives of their friends, and the latest text messages crossing the little screen, they can be very self absorbed. They are certainly not thinking about the emotional lives of their parents. Parents? Oh, those annoying people who stand in the way of real fun.  When parents are contemplating mortality, they do not want to think that their legacy is an adolescent who cares more about skin care rituals and x box than family or future.

It isn’t fair – it ought to be one crisis at a time. When midlife intersects with adolescence, everybody struggles until they work through their developmental stage.  Mom and dad review their lives and decide that, when all is said and done, they did okay and can still make changes in the future. The adolescents don’t review because their lives still feel like it is all future and no past but they muddle along and usually turn out surprisingly well. 

 Life gets easier after everyone finishes with their identity shifts. Parents settle down more confidently and so do kids.

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