Developmental issues can come into play, when normal adolescent individuation can result in withdrawal or detachment from parents or caregivers. During this period, teens’ relationships with their peers can take on greater significance; students may not want their parent or caregiver to be involved. High school students may intentionally set up roadblocks to their parents’ or caregivers’ involvement, destroying information from the school, erasing voice mail messages. Parents and caregivers may react by becoming more detached from their adolescent children, believing they are doing the right thing and supporting their autonomous growth.
This natural tendency affecting the parent/caregiver relationship during adolescence may be exacerbated by the high school context, when student autonomy is encouraged. Larger classes, numerous teachers, fewer opportunities for direct contact, are all factors that have an impact on the relationship between home and school.
When bullying and inequity are at play, such developmental issues require sensitivity and understanding in order to strike the right balance between young people’s autonomy and well-being on the one side, and adult support and involvement on the other.