As the future begins to loom, your teen may be anxious about academic success or failure. She may feel under pressure to qualify for a certain job or a university place and may worry about living up to expectations. Realising that reality may not live up to her dreams can cause problems.
Your teenager’s thoughts about the future may also include idealistic visions of the world and the people within it. She may begin to think about the future of the world in general. At this age, she may become interested in politics and environmentally conscious – and think she’s the first one to have these ideas! She may also feel that you don’t live up to her idealistic expectations and may become quite critical.
Your teen’s self-preoccupation continues. She may spend considerable time with her thoughts and guard her privacy fiercely. Some teens begin to keep diaries or write poetry during this stage while others read intently or listen to song lyrics, relating them to their own thoughts and dreams.
In her attempts to find the adult identity she will ultimately assume, she may experiment with different physical appearances, attitudes and friends. She may even temporarily ‘try out’ different values. Her rejection of her childhood identity may sometimes seem to translate into rejection of you as a parent. Although it’s difficult, try not to take this stage too personally. Your teen doesn’t actively dislike you. She’s just trying to get past her attachment to you and is struggling to find out how to do it.