As parents our relationships with the children we raise are kinetic. They are always moving; always in flux. This lifelong interplay can be likened to a dance.
When we’re raising little children, the dance is more like ballroom. Oh, we’re not saying it’s always graceful, but the adult clearly leads the duet. The child—often wrapped in an adult’s arms, or held by the hand—is swept from one organized activity to the next, and dipped into a bath, and bed, at night.
As the child grows, the dance can become more awkward, and herky-jerky. Toes are stepped on, and children begin to experiment with taking solos. During this time, the adult and child make continuous adjustments, and find periods of fluidity. This phase of childhood is more like a square dance, where the adults call the action. It’s still highly choreographed, but children are given more leeway to circle-off, on their own, before returning “home”.
Sometimes, in preadolescence and adolescence, almost overnight, children and adults can find their organized square dance has become a mosh pit. Like most things, it may have started imperceptibly. The adult and preadolescent, perhaps, began to bump into each other a little here and there. Then one of them bumped harder, and the other bumped hard back. Before they knew it, they were slam dancing. Sure, for brief periods, maybe they regained their footing in a passionate tango, but for the most part, their dance has become chaotic and explosive.
The adolescent may also be slamming themselves against their world. Thrashing into school, or peers, or whatever “dance floor” is imposing boundaries on their experience at the moment. Or maybe, they’ve taken a seat in a folding chair in the corner, and are isolating, and refusing to dance. Due to their palpable disharmony, maybe they’ve begun pursuing behaviors, or substances, that give them a temporary feeling of rhythm. Maybe they seek that rhythm in technology, drugs/alcohol, sex, food, repetitive behaviors of some kind, risk taking, etc. And while these behaviors may make them look completely out of sync to grownups, or even some peers, they give the young person a temporary inner-feeling of flow. Of dancing with an experience. Of being in the moment, even if that moment is completely disconnecting them from people, and/or reality. But we adults know these disconnected dances have deleterious effects, and diminishing returns.
If you’re observing these patterns in yours, and your loved ones, lives, maybe it’s time for a choreographer to help you get back in step. We are that choreographer. We’ll help your loved one rediscover their authentic rhythm by aligning them with treatment that amplifies the music at the core of their being. And in the process, we’ll help you restore, or bring harmony to your relationship.