When my daughter turned thirteen, she would get hysterical over misplaced homework. She also decided to dye her hair black, and to eat spaghetti with ice cream for breakfast. That's when I knew she was a teenager.Later in the essay, I base my definition of adolescence on personal experience as a parent of a teen.
Although young people want to be independent, they must also trust their parents for basic necessities and for emotional support. My daughter likened herself in this internal conflict to a rubber-band that is stretched so far until it either has to snap back or break.In reality, my articulate child had used that metaphor not as a teenager, but as a nine-year-old when she tried to explain to me how she felt while in France on a school trip, living with a French family for 3 weeks, without her own parents or brother. As a Spanish student, I used some poetic license to ascribe the idea to her teenage brain.
Finally, I concluded my definition of adolescence this way: "Parents have a huge responsibility for assuring that the children can become autonomous, healthy adults. They must realize that the period of adolescence will not last forever." In fact, it disappears all too quickly.
Today, my daughter and her husband are Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand. She is probably eating noodles for breakfast and stretching herself in cultural, linguistic, and emotional ways few of us can imagine.