“It comes down to a problem of: how to be adolescent during adolescence? This is an extremely brave thing for anybody to be. It does not mean that we grown-ups have to be saying: ‘Look at these dear little adolescents having their adolescence; we must put up with everything and let our windows get broken.’ This is not the point. The point is that we are challenged and we meet the challenge as part of the function of adult living. But we meet the challenge rather than set out to cure what is essentially healthy.
The big threat from the adolescent is the threat to the bit of ourselves that has not really had its adolescence. This bit of ourselves makes us resent these people being able to have their phase of the doldrums and makes us want to find a solution for them. There are hundreds of false solutions. Anything we say or do is wrong. We give support and we are wrong, we withdraw support and that is wrong too. We dare not be ‘understanding’. But in the course of time we find that this adolescent boy and this adolescent girl has come out of the doldrums phase and is now able to begin identifying with society, with parents, and with wider groups, and to do so without feeling threatened with personal extinction.”
Extracted from: D. W. Winnicott, Clare Winnicott, Ray Shepherd & Madeleine Davis. Deprivation and Delinquency. iBooks. First published by Tavistock Publications, London, 1984