It is standard to say that the psychical work an adolescent must accomplish is a work of separation, in particular with the objects of childhood. In fact it seems more accurate to speak of an adjustment of bonds between parents and adolescent. The former must be neither too lax (otherwise the adolescent may feel abandoned) nor too clinging (otherwise the individual may be kept from constructing a psychical space of his own). An institutional phase in which each, adolescent and parent, will be able to find his place can help in finding the right distance. Participation in a parents’ group at the time of an adolescent’s institutionalization allows for work on the adjustment of bonds.
Adolescence, septembre 2002, 20, 3, 615-619