1. Leaving home. Establishing independence from home supervision.
*Emergence from parental supervision
*Reliance from the security one can give self rather than security provided by the parents.
*Development of an attitude towards parents as friends rather than protectors and supervisors.
*Planning of one’s own time and making one’s own decisions without parental control.
Free from parental supervision
In psychotherapy there is a general rule of thumb for the adolescent or adult client. Do they refer to their parents as mummy & daddy, mum & dad or Fred & Alice. This is about getting a psychological divorce from ones parents and if one refers to their parents by their christian names then they are more likely to have resolved this dilemma. If they refer to them as mummy and daddy then there can be considerable emotional immaturity.
To become an adult or a person in ones own right one must learn how to deal with the good and bad events in life. How to deal with things like gossip, rejection, feeling scared, ashamed, angry. It is the overprotective parents cause the most problems with this psychological struggle.
This also refers to the geographical separation from the parents such as moving out into an abode of their own. Physically leaving home can greatly assist the child in resolving this psychological struggle. This need can also be reflected in the desire of younger people to travel and see some of the world without the parents being present.
2. Emotional maturity. A person does not become an adult until he has abandoned childish or adolescent ways of reacting emotionally.
*Substitution of harmless instead of harmful ways of expressing emotion. For instance young children hit and bite when angry. Temper tantrums is another example.
*Learning to react to emotional situations objectively. If someone is angry at what you have done, to be able to assess objectively if their anger is justified or not. Being able to move beyond simple revenge responses or an eye for an eye thinking.
*Learning to accept criticism without hurt feelings.
*Learning to face things that are unpleasant instead of running away from them.
*Elimination of childish fears and anxieties.
3. Social maturity. This is not independence from home but maturity in one’s own social circle.
*Development of a sense of security in one’s social circle.
*Ability to get along with others in peer relationships
*Ability to take part in the activities of the group, without trying to either dominate it or be excessively submissive in it.
*Freedom from excessive dependence on one’s social group. This allows one to go some what against the norms of the group but still remain part of it.
*Development of a tolerance to different social groups.
Choosing who to be friends with is up to them
Teenagers have an acute interest in social matters. They can be dependent and meticulously imitate their friends and social group. This serves a real and positive purpose in the break away from the parents. However it can become a problem in itself if the person merely becomes a slave to the norms of the group instead of the parents.
4. Beginnings of economic independence. One cannot truly become psychologically adult until they earn their own living.
*Reasonably accurate estimate of one’s abilities
*Selection of a field of work in which success is possible
*Completion of enough training to get started in one’s career
*Realising the need to work
One can not become who they are without economic independence.
This is a distinctive difficulty for children from wealthy families. Many parents will promote economic ties as a way to keep children around. This also highlights the difficulty when a child goes into the family business and is why often the second generation in the family business in much less successful. If given an easy path into the family business they tend to be more interested in the spoils of it than making it profitable.
In western society these psychological struggles have gained extra importance in recent years as they evolve more and more into nanny states. As the state takes more and more responsibility to protect and look after its young it is becoming harder and harder for them to evolve into what is seen as psychologically adult.
We are making it harder and harder for the young to become psychologically independent. To do that they have to take risks of their own and that means some of them will get hurt and some will even die. We have to accept that there will be casualties or risk the predicament of promoting a generation of dependents.