web analytics
July 4, 2015 / 17 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Riding the Teenage Roller Coaster: Understanding Terminated Relationships


The life of a typical adolescent may often combine difficulties and complexities. Adolescents are often faced with issues related to peer pressure, academic stress, and potential family difficulties. Friendships and relationships often serve as outlets for adolescents during times of difficulty and turmoil. Relationships and feeling connected to others also impacts personal feelings of identity and self worth. This article attempts to provide guidance in understanding how adolescents will often deal with terminated relationships. Understanding the underlying dynamics is important for determining the normalcy of reactions and the specific emotions and feelings that occur when relationships are terminated.

During the period of adolescence, the primacy of peer relationships relates to the formation of identity. As Erik Erikson suggests, the formation of identity is the designated task of the period of adolescence. The ability to form connections strengthens individual identity and prevents a person from feeling isolated. Therefore, the termination of a strong friendship or relationship could potentially produce a ‘grief related reaction’. Similar to the stages of grief and loss suggested by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a teenager will often move through stages of anger, sadness, helplessness, bargaining, and acceptance when dealing with a terminated relationship. The loss of a critical friendship and relationship is at times seen as related to the loss of a person’s own individual identity.

This may explain the level of reactions experienced by teenagers. At times, teenagers will put up a mask or a shield around their feelings. This shield can either be manifested as withdrawal or even as intense anger. The specific reaction may be based on the specific relationship and the specific coping abilities of the parties involved. Withdrawal, while it is may be certainly rooted in anger or sadness, does not necessarily imply that the teenager is heading on the road toward a depressive episode. However, it is important to help the teenager understand the thoughts and feelings associated with each particular reaction. Some common negative thoughts may relate to feelings of vulnerability and distrust from the breakup of a strong relationship. Teenagers may question their ability to trust or love, and may try to bargain with themselves that they wish that things could be different. It is not uncommon for a teenager to feel that ‘things will never be the same’.

Beyond Erikson’s theory of identity, there are additional ‘Theories of Energy’ that suggest that part of our energy, or our ego development, relates to feeling connected to other people. These theories maintain that a person relies on the energy of other people to enhance their own identity and self. A lack of feeling connected (or feeling this energy from other people) may create symptoms of withdrawal, isolation, anger, and sadness. It is important to help teenagers recognize the inherent dynamics that are prevalent in a terminated relationship before symptoms become exacerbated.

In order to promote healing and growth, I would like to suggest some helpful tips when speaking to teenagers who are experiencing changes and volatility in their relationships:

1) It is important to help teenagers understand their reactions and feelings. As mentioned, the severity and intensity of reactions may be ‘more normal’ for this specific time period in their life. Helping them to understand this may be a beginning step for growth and healing

2) Helping teenagers to identity healthy coping skills are critical in attempting to counteract feelings of isolation and hopelessness. Promoting connection over withdrawal will allow individuals to maintain their specific energy levels as they navigate through some difficult times

3) While often difficult, feelings of vulnerability and distrust can often be channeled to new experiences and new relationships. Helping teenagers to learn from the past can often promote feelings of hope and optimism related to the formation of new friendships and relationships.

Noticing changes of behavior can often be the first step to engaging your teenagers in meaningful discussions about social changes and difficulties. One should never hesitate to seek outside guidance and counsel when looking to help their teenage children navigate difficult ‘social waters’.

Mark Staum, LCSW, is a social worker at The Frisch School in Paramus, NJ. He works with hundreds of teenagers and parents on many issues specifically related to the period of adolescence. Mark is a former therapist at The Center for Applied Psychology in Monsey, NY, and presently maintains a private practice in Monsey, NY and Teaneck, NJ. Mark has trained at The Ackerman Institute for The Family and has additional training in child and family therapy. To learn more about Mark, please visit his website, www.markstaum.com. For any questions or comments on this article, please contact Mark at mstaumlcsw@gmail.com

About the Author: Mark Staum, LCSW, is a social worker at The Frisch School in Paramus, NJ. He works with hundreds of teenagers and parents on many issues specifically related to the period of adolescence. Mark is a former therapist at The Center for Applied Psychology in Monsey, NY, and presently maintains a private practice in Monsey, NY and Teaneck, NJ. Mark has trained at The Ackerman Institute for The Family and has additional training in child and family therapy. To learn more about Mark, please visit his website, www.markstaum.com. For any questions or comments on this article, please contact Mark at mstaumlcsw@gmail.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Riding the Teenage Roller Coaster: Understanding Terminated Relationships”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
UN Human Rights Council
UN HRC Condemns Israel (But Not Hamas) for War Crimes
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.

South-Florida-logo

The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.

South-Florida-logo

“Thanks to a local philanthropist who shares our core mission, we now are able to connect more Jewish teens to Israel than ever before,” said Todd Cohn, executive director of Southern NCSY.

In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.

Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]

Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.

It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.

It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.

My best book is one that hasn’t been published yet.

We tend to justify and idealize this division with pride attributing these tendencies as demonstrating a higher level of kedushah.

More Articles from Mark Staum

The life of a typical adolescent may often combine difficulties and complexities. Adolescents are often faced with issues related to peer pressure, academic stress, and potential family difficulties. Friendships and relationships often serve as outlets for adolescents during times of difficulty and turmoil.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/riding-the-teenage-roller-coaster-understanding-terminated-relationships/2012/03/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: