The change from childhood to adolescence.
Whenever I think about a child's entry into early adolescences, around ages 9 - 13, I am reminded of the extraordinary title of Thomas Wolfe's novel, "You Can't Go Home Again."
For me, these words capture the irredeemable loss that young people must endure and the taunting challenge that they must face as they depart from childhood and face the great unknowns of growing up.
They can never go home to childhood again. They can never return to that simpler, sheltered, and supportive time. Growing up requires giving up because necessary losses must occur if necessary gains are to be made. Now early adolescent causes the separation from childhood to begin as young people start caring less about what used to matter most. Now they are set adrift in a sea of disaffection.
They care less about what they loved to do as children, they care less about spending time with parents, they care less about life in the family circle, they care less about school performance, they care less about social obedience, they care less about pleasing parents, and they know what they care less about; but they don't yet have any good alternatives for investing their caring elsewhere.
No longer wanting to defined and treated as a child, they can throw childhood interests, activities, and enjoyments away to show how they have changed. Unhappily, this decision can leave them riding on empty. Boredom is the name for all the loss they feel and then they’ll say "There's nothing to do!"
Boredom is really a state of loneness. The young person is at loose ends. He or she can't find a satisfying way to connect to themselves, other people, or the world. Restless, frustrated, and discontent is how the early adolescent often feels.
Of course, the passing of childhood is not just painful for the young person; Parents have their share of loss to bear as well. They will never have their son or daughter as little child again. That golden period in their...