How to empower your teenager to be independent –
Every parent wants to ensure that their teenager grows up to become an independent adult.
Independent adults are able to look for and find a job,
they develop a plethora of skills and thrive in an ever-changing world.
There are different kinds of teenage independence such as independence at home or school, independence when interacting with friends, acquaintances and strangers, and independence in the outside world.
- Encourage your teenager to demonstrate responsibility
Your teenager should take responsibility for his/her actions. As your teenager grows older the level of responsibility that can be expected, will grow too.
Remind your teenager that he/she will make mistakes (like everyone else) but making mistakes is a part of learning and growing up. It is indeed okay to make a mistake provided you own up afterwards and are honest about it.
Also remind yourself that teenagers have poorer impulse control than adults because their brains are still developing.
- Show your teenager love, respect and support
Tell your teenager that you love him/her. They might not look – or react – as if they want to hear this but it helps to build self-confidence and adds to a feeling of belonging and self-worth.
Show your teenager respect – it is not only adults that deserve respect. Remind yourself that teenage years are often filled with physical, emotional and psychological upheaval – it is part of growing up.
Show genuine interest in your teenager’s friends, activities and studies. Listen when they speak. Give advice when needed or desired but do not preach. Refrain from being judgemental or opinionated.
- Trust your teenager
Instil the following in your teenager: Trust is earned by being trustworthy.
Your rules within the family will dictate what is allowed and what is not acceptable. This means that your teenager will know exactly what is expected.
The more responsible your teenager’s actions, the more trust will be gained from peers and adults (also see tip 1).
- Set boundaries for your teenager
When you set boundaries for teenager it helps them to become independent. It gives them the chance to explore and discover things for themselves whilst also knowing how far to go.
As teenagers get older boundaries will inevitably evolve provided your teenager has proved that he/she can be trusted (also see tip 3).
- Respect your teenager’s individuality and privacy
Your teenager is no longer a child. Let that sink in.
Your teenager is an individual whose views will probably differ from yours and who will do things in a different way to what you might be used to or prefer. Respect this individuality and allow them to learn from their own successes and failures.
Teenagers need privacy from their parents. They should learn how to face their own challenges and they should discover what kind of person they want to be. Step back and allow your teenager to do enough things on their own.
- Let go of your teenager
It’s okay to let go…