3. Your parent’s behavior does not reflect on you, although the reverse is somewhat true. You are your mother’s daughter or your father’s son. As such your actions are indeed held to a certain scrutiny by them. What they say and do may result in a negative or positive reaction from you, however, it is not a reflection of you in the same way that your actions are on your parents. The parents’ job is to raise their children. In my experience, most parents do the best they are capable of doing. While there does reach a point where a child must stand on his own, the responsibility a parent feels toward a child usually lasts a lifetime. A child’s job is not to parent a parent; therefore, while a child may be committed and devoted to his parent, by definition he is not responsible for them. Hopefully, he feels devoted, especially later on in life when they may need him most.
4. Regardless of whether your parents have been apart for years or recently broken up, the impact of divorce on children of all ages can be devastating. The relationship between your parents can at times make your life complicated and tricky. You may cringe at the thought of an upcoming ‘big event’ such as an award or honor, graduation, or game. Try and keep things in perspective. You are probably the most important person in your parents’ lives.
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When it comes to whether your parent is a little too friendly with your friends: A little communication can go a long way. Lost in the exuberance of feeling ready to pursue romantic interests and the elation of having an older son or daughter who is also engaged in “playing the game,” your parent just may not realize the discomfort he brings you when he stares a second too long at your best friend or college roommate. Your mom may not grasp that her “hello” is a bit over the top and that she has not only embarrassed your favorite guy pal but you as well. Take the time to talk it out; you will both be glad you did.
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Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy. D. is currently a clinical administrator on an adolescent inpatient unit in a private psychiatric hospital. She is an adjunct Professor of Psychology at Pace University and maintains a private outpatient practice. She is also the creator of www.itsatweenslife.com, a forum for family and friends.