Dear Mr. Dad: Every summer our family takes a two-week trip to a national park in the Rockies. We camp, we hike, we fish, we explore. Until recently, it’s been the high point of the year for everyone. Now my oldest is fifteen, and at the mere suggestion of this year’s trip, she yelled, “No way am I going on that lame trip again!” Lame? She used to love these vacations! What are we supposed to do?
A: Ouch! Hurts, doesn’t it? Just like the whole package of teen rebellion, it’s hard to take these angry rejections well. But it’s important to put them into the context of a larger change in your relationship.
Adolescence is a period during when teens naturally begins to pull away from their parents, to define themselves as their own people, to stop being so embarrassingly dependent on you. So the good news is that your daughter is developmentally right on target, doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing at her age. Remembering that can help take some of the sting out of such moments. Not all of it, but a bit.