Why Tweens and Newlyweds Fight!Jan 09, 2023
Ever wonder why adolescent children are mean to each other?
Like, why can’t they all just get along? Pre teens and teens spend much of their time bickering. “”Politics” as they like to call it.
This week, we analyzed this behavior during our Peer Supervision group. Thank you, Group.
I’m referring to the 9,10,11,12,13,14,15+… year olds. Yet often this proves to be true even through adulthood. I find the following phenomenon fascinating.
I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again! Attachment Theory teaches us that a child’s primary and most important relationship, and the relationship which influences their future relationships, is the parent-child relationship.
At pre-adolescence, the child’s focus naturally begins to shift from parents to peers as now being the most important relationship. This is healthy.
Psychologically speaking however, there is inner tension and worry about leaving the safety of the family. In a family unit, boundaries are clear. You are either in my family or you are not. It is well defined. Not debatable. Very safe. (We hope, anyway). Nothing to prove. You have earned the right to be close and respected, just because you are family.
There is something incredibly safe and soothing about being part of a healthy and secure family. The hope is that our children create new relationships that are similar.
Once you step out of the family boundary, relationships become unclear. They become questionable. And we are not sure whether or not we can trust the integrity of our new relationships.
This tension of leaving the family gets displaced when trying to figure out who our real peers are. Boundaries are blurred. The inner tension contributes to the external friction. And often brings out the mean, the defensive, the worried, the insecure, the paranoid, the lonely, the aggressive and the passive personalities.
They are displacing their anxiety onto their peers.
Our tweens are craving the security of their family. Parents still play a safe role in their children’s lives, hopefully forever. But it is now time for children to fly on their own 🦋 and learn to navigate a new world of relationships.
This fascinating, albeit sometimes scary, process repeats itself again as we enter the world of marriage. This is why newlyweds can have tension too. The boundaries blur again as they begin to develop their own family unit as husband and wife. They often feel insecure, project their anxiety and test the integrity of the relationship. It is once again a big transition from very clear boundaries (being a friend during the dating process) to now creating a family system together.
Am I the only one who loves this stuff?! I really have a lot more to say! I know many of you will ask, “ok Shifi, so now what?” Here’s one answer!
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