Everyone—young children, teens, and adults—needs space now and then.
It’s hard to feel independent and self-sufficient when your parents try to watch over your every move and micro-manage all of your activities. This is why it’s important to work with your teen to help them learning and grow, yet still have safe life experiences and live under your parenting protection. How do you keep your teen safe, and seek that balance? There are many ways.
Education is the key. Keeping your teen involved in the process of adding more independence will give them a greater sense of control and will increase their overall confidence. They should be aware of the dangers that could greet them in the outside world, but without being stifled by your parenting techniques. Disney’s Everyday Magic gives advice in this vein and, while it specifically applies to children and teens with Diabetes, it can be applicable to healthy teens and children.
What Can I Do?
Giving your teen some time away from home—such as with mall outings or sleepovers at friends’ houses—can give your teen a sense of independence. Let them know that it is okay to stay over with a few friends, as long as they check in throughout the evening. This lets you know that your teen is safe, without hovering over their shoulder and making them feel suffocated or controlled. Encouraging extracurricular activities, such as sports and clubs, will further breed a sense of independence and self-confidence.
Surprisingly enough, The Guardian shared a report from the Future Foundation that stated the average amount for 8-to-10-year-olds playing unsupervised in the summer holidays has fallen from 55 times in the 1950s and the 1960s to only 24 times now.
In the advent of Internet predators, cyberbullies, and other sexual predators, this is hardly surprising. Still, it is important for children and teens to have their independence, lest it lead to troubled behavior and poor mental health.
If this sounds like an issue you are struggling with, the Elevations Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is available to offer guidance, support, and relief for parents in crisis. Focusing on boys and girls in the 13 to 17 age range, the center helps your teens to overcome challenges that stem from mental health issues, emotional disorders, learning disorders, substance abuse, and other underlying issues. They can help you, through proven therapeutic methods, to find a happy medium between giving your teen independence and keeping them under your supervision.