Making Healthy Families
By Gayle Peterson, Ph.D.
Excerpt from Making
Part Three: Crisis and Transformation on the Family Life Cycle
Chapter Eight: Raising Adolescents: The Transformation of the Family
Available for purchase online at
The presence of adolescents in the family
precipitates a transformation. No longer children, and not yet adults,
teens waver betwixt and between, as they prepare to leave home and establish
independent lives. Unlike younger years, teenagers are making choices
that will have an effect on the rest of their lives. The stakes are
getting higher. The protected period of childhood is fading quickly.
The new family system is no longer just
about caring for children, but also subject to new and independent ideas,
styles, and philosophies for living brought home by their budding teenager.
Adolescent development pressures the parent to evolve toward a new understanding
of the differences of individuals in the family, especially where poignant
issues of sexuality, career choice, and academic and social achievement
Parents, too, may be experiencing pressures
of their own involving identity. Mid-life issues may arise, and new
career choices may loom for parents as they look ahead to the rest of
their lives after their children leave the nest. Couples' intimacy issues
reach a peak of intensity at this time, if marital conflicts remained
unresolved while the children were growing up. And as if that were not
enough, parents may be experiencing the stress of dealing with aging
parents of their own! Unresolved dependency needs from childhood can
surface for parents who have functioned well as providers for younger
children, but are reminded of their own freedom looming at the horizon.
The need to focus on their own growth and development as adults can
become salient at a time when they are "sandwiched" in between the needs
of the younger and the older generations simultaneously.
Family life evolves in a kind of "pressure
cooker," which can make it hard to see the special and unique challenges
of parenthood during this period. The questions and answers in this
chapter illustrate the changes parents must make in parenting during
this time, and the ways we may experience difficulty changing "gears"
as adolescence arrives on the home front.......
Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist
specializing in prenatal and family development. She
trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model
and is the author of An
Easier Childbirth, Birthing
Normally and her latest book, Making
Healthy Families. Her articles on family
relationships appear in professional journals and
she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such
as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting.
. She also serves on the
advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.
Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for ParentsPlace.com, igrandparents.com, the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper and the Sierra Foothill's Family Post. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on www.ivillage.com, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance". She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Northern California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Oakland, California and Nevada City, California. She also offers an online certification training program in Prenatal Counseling and Birth Hypnosis. Gayle and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother of three lively boys and one sparkling granddaughter.
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