Hilary K. Robison, LCSW
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The teen years are a period of intense growth, not only physically, but also morally and intellectually. The primary tasks of adolescence are identity — finding the answer to the question, "who am I?" and autonomy — discovering that self as separate and independent from one's parents. Defining this separate and independent self is sometimes a tumultuous and difficult process.

One of the primary ways that teens define a separate sense of self is to start pulling away from their parents. This can come across as teens always seeming to have different opinions than their parents or not wanting to be around their parents in the same way they used to. This is often stressful for both the parents and the teen.

A certain level of conflict between parents and teens is very normal. While it can be painful and exhausting, time, patience, good communication and parental alignment will generally resolve most of these issues. There are circumstances, however, when you and your family may benefit from professional help. These include situations where there is truancy, substance abuse, excessive risk taking,self-harm, suicidal thoughts , or a general lack of respect for boundaries. Sometimes the situation may be less severe but there is such difficulty with family communication, you need some outside help in learning how to talk and listen to each other in a beneficial and meaningful way.

Helping your teen to leave home successfully enables them to begin life on solid footing and to greet the world with the kind of passion and idealism that is emblematic of this exciting phase of life.

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