In This Section
- The Basics of the Teen Heroic Journey – The 3 core challenges, what to expect on the journey, & how to manage it
- The Primary Challenge of the Teen/Parent relationship – The awkward dance of letting go of control & taking on responsibility
- Guidelines for Supporting Your Teenager’s Journey
- Guidelines for Supporting Your Journey
In the Rest of the Site
- The 3 Core Challenges – Identity, Relationships & Competencies – Challenges
- What to Expect on the Journey – Expect
- Strategies for Managing the Journey – Manage
- Special Topics – Thriving, Bullying, Making a Difference, Suicide, Gaming, Quotes, Other Resources, etc. – Special Topics
1. The Basics of the Teen Heroic Journey
The Heroic Journey is Inherently Ennobling
Not all of a teenager’s behaviors are noble, but their overall journey is. Teenagers are on a 10-year journey where they are challenged to let go of their known world of childhood, encounter a great deal of unknown and face a wide variety of tough challenges and tests. They have to discover and master the ways of a young adult and they will be caught in-between the worlds of childhood and young adulthood for a long time – “inbetweenity.”
They didn’t ask for that journey. They got thrown into it with little preparation simply by a new stage in their development – adolescence. They will be on a rollercoaster with lots of ups and downs for 10 years (that varies). They will need to call on their courage, they will need to persevere, and they will need to develop resilience.
They will need to figure out how to manage their journey and become the authors of their lives – the central shift from childhood to young adulthood. And they will need a lot of guidance and support – even if they act like they don’t need it.
The fundamental journey is the same for all teenagers, but each teenager has to find their own way. And each parent has to figure out how to support each son or daughter.
Teenagers Face 3 Core Challenges
These are big complex challenges that are addressed over the 10 years of the journey – not always in obvious ways and certainly not on a smooth consistent path.
- Challenge #1: Forming an Identity as a Young Adult. “Who am I?” Who might I Become?”
- Challenge #2: Developing More Mature Relationships – with Parents, Peers, Romantic Partners & other Adults. “Where am I connected?” “What’s a healthy relationship look like?” “How do I deal with endings?” “What skills do I need?” “Who cares about me?”
- Challenge #3: Building a Wide Range of Competencies – academic competencies, self-management competencies, life management skills,…………….
There is no recipe for supporting your teenager in taking on these challenges, but the site has a lot of information on each challenge. Essentially, your teenager has to “learn the way” – and so do you.
Teenagers Face 3 Different Types of Test
These three types of test are the same tests we face as adults as we change – or in corporate or community change. Teenagers just face a lot of these tests at the same time. Understanding the natures of these types of test makes a big difference in managing them – as teenagers or adults.
- Test #1: Letting Go of Old Ways – the thoughts, relationships and behaviors of childhood
- Test #2: Discovering & Mastering New Ways – the thoughts, relationships, competencies and behaviors of young adulthood
- Test #3: Dealing with “Inbetweenity” – the 10 years of being pulled between childhood and young adulthood
Teenagers are Tested & Grow on 5 Levels
To add to the complexity of the teen journey, teenagers are tested and grow on five levels. This is one reason the journey is so confusing and unsettling at times and so exciting and rewarding at others.
Teenagers are tested and grow:
The growth is uneven and often hard to see, but it’s happening. And it will happen differently for each teenager.