Originally Posted by lauren
To the extent that mom tries to make her a replica of her (blurred boundaries), she has to work harder at individuation and being different. A mom who completely accepts her in all her choices and doesn't set any limits at all gives her nothing to "push" against.
I get this, and I experienced all the pushing as an adolescent myself, so I know that's how it usually plays out. But I can't help but wonder if the only way to individuate from home and family is to push against them.What if you found something outside home and family and pulled towards that? Can't you define yourself as a competent near-adult by being something or doing something that's different from what your family does? Something positive and adventurous, something where your competence and ability are clear, something driven by a passion you hold dear, something outside your parents' realm of experience?
I feel like with my eldest dd I was that mom who accepted all her choices and didn't give her anything to push against. Instead she was fortunate to get some adventurous experiences to test herself against, and she followed a somewhat unusual educational path which she chose for herself. She has grown up confident and independent, comfortable with who she is. I'm not saying every moment of her adolescence was sunshine and roses, but throughout her stuttering course towards maturity neither of us felt like there was a developmentally-driven pushing against parental limits taking place.
I think it can be very difficult to find appropriate ways for teens to really test themselves and have meaningful independent experiences that shape their self-concept as separate, capable near-adults. Historically those experiences were much more readily available for adolescents, whether through child labour, apprenticeships, early marriage, domestic service or military enlistment, but often in rather unhealthy or risky ways. I am not at all nostalgic for those sorts of opportunities, but I think they likely made very short work of the "separation from family" aspect of adolescence, and perhaps there's something we can learn from that.