At this stage, the youth's expression of power begins to expand into territory considered the privileged domain of his or her guardians, with inevitable conflict. He or she has enough understanding of social norms to become concerned with the ethical issues of the times. These are matters of judgment regarding the justice (love focused towards the community as a whole) of behavioral norms, and the mechanisms through which they are enforced. Obviously, some of this analysis is focused on the private struggle for independence, but it can also be focused towards a greater social purpose.

Also dominant in this stage is romantic bonding. The process of joining and separation, under the drive of the procreative urge, is fraught with hazardous consequence. Unless this process is engaged slowly and gently, with as much attention paid to the skill of separation as to the exhiliration of joining, early experience almost always includes deep wounding when one party is forced to aggressively terminate a relationship that the other wishes to sustain.

A word of warning: guardians, both male and female, must be attentive to the spiritual tone of this development. At this stage, the male focus on physical gratification closes out far more tender and powerful kinds of engagement. His male guardian must bring those doors to his attention, and his female guardian help to guide him through them. (To emphasize: this has nothing to do with sex.)

The female focus on organic survival has a similar impact: it can lead girls to manipulate the male sexual drive to achieve security or simple power, again foreclosing deeper levels of engagement. Her female guardian must educate her regarding the beneficial consequences of a respectful joining of personalities, and her male guardian must provide her opportunities to practice those disciplines.

This formulation still anticipates that girls will be the more considerate and responsible parties in this process. This is an inescapable consequence of the underlying hormonal realities. However, boys may be somewhat more susceptible to reason.