Authority problem and the good child in the family

Reactions to authority can be in the normal range or be excessively RC or excessively CC. Both those outside the normal range represent a psychological abnormality and mean the psychological break away from the attachment to parents is not proceeding normally.

Authority prob continuum Jpeg

Historically the literature only has identified the high RC as an “Authority problem”. They are the easily observable trouble makers who use up the time and energy of the organisation dealing with them (schools, prisons, hospitals, police, the courts, etc) and that can include breaking the law.

The high CC also has an authority problem but they do not break the law or cause any problems for teachers, parents, police ands schools. In fact these people will be seen as the ‘good citizens’. Seen as the healthy non neurotic people, when they are indeed developmentally stuck, unable to pass through the adolescent stage of development.

The problem for these people, whilst they are praised for their good behaviour often they feel quite bad inside. Not uncommonly high anxiety which makes it worse for them as what is inside feels incongruent with what is outside.

The high CC person can often have a please me driver and possible injunctions like – don’t be separate, don’t grow up, don’t make it, don’t think, don’t enjoy.

Teen girl

Making sure she gets noticed

 

When working with teenagers the majority of the time one will be brought the problem teenager who can have a high RC to authority. That is the problem why he or she is brought. If one has the opportunity it is pertinent to ask the parents about the good child in the family. The one who is not making any noise can be the one in most pain. If there is such a sibling in the family it is always a good idea to interview him or her if that can be arranged. One is looking to see if she/he has an authority problem by reacting with too much CC.

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