The fundamental fact about our experience is that it is a process of change.
-- WILLIAM JAMES
Teenager. The word conjures up images of remoteness, irrationality, mystery, and even chaos in the minds of many adults. However slanted the associations, it is nonetheless a fact of family life that parents and their teenagers can, almost effortlessly, confuse or antagonize each other. They seem to speak at cross-purposes. They seem to value conflicting cultures. They seem to inhabit opposing worlds.
As parents you cannot afford to be discouraged. You can understand your teenagers. In fact, teenagers need more than ever before to be understood. The problem is, they need you to hear what they can't quite articulate and to see what they really can't show you.
Teenagers develop by growing up -- and by growing up fast -- just beyond your view. During adolescence, growing up goes along with growing away. That is in the nature of adolescence. At the moment when teenagers seem at risk of slipping away, and when you may very well feel frustrated enough to let them, though, Field Guide points in the direction of reconciliation. What makes life so hard for parents is that they find it hard to shake their memories of the child they once knew who has now grown up. But that child is no more. And now you need to re-learn who your child has become: a teenager.