College Students And Their Parents

During adolescence, it is fairly common for conflict to erupt between parents and their teenagers.  It is also pretty usual for marriages to feel the strain of teenagers in the house.  These dynamics shift when adolescence is ending and the young adult is moving out to go to college or work.  Here are some of the more interesting changes:

  1. Parents enjoy their child’s increased maturity (although some moms and dads have trouble with their young adult leaving home and have to adjust).
  2. Children begin to see their parents in a more sympathetic light, as people rather than as obstacles.
  3. Children feel less aggressive toward their parents.
  4. Both parents and children stop taking each other for granted and place more value on the person and relationship.
  5. Children begin to make more independent decisions about money, time, sex, schooling, and careers.  Parents are either pleased or appalled (or both, depending on the topic) at their son’s or daughter’s emerging independence.
  6. Both parents and children realize that they share many of the same values and both gain respect for the other.

One major key in making these things happen is that the parents need to begin to recognize and treat their child as an adult (not abdicating parental responsibility but gaining confidence that Jr. (what is the feminine for Jr.?) can make some thoughtful decisions and will consult them as needed.

If you are an early career therapist, you will find “What DO I Say?” and essential addition to your professional library.  you can purchase it at

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