For many parents, finding the balance between raising independent teenagers vs. allowing complete freedom can be a delicate practice to perfect. Allowing a teen to become independent cis much like teaching them how to drive: letting them take over the wheel, slowly accelerating, then quickly yelling at them to slam on the breaks!
But much like driving, growing independence is an inevitable and much needed process for a teen to find their own way.
Here’s a 3-Step Crash Course to Raising Independent Teens
No one is perfect. Mistakes help your teens learn life lessons and gain new experiences. Parents can use these moments as an opportunity to work through existing and incoming issues. Allow your teen to take the lead during this communication, and take the back seat – you may be surprised at the direction they take. And guess what, if you want them to take a crash course on Failure, click here to learn more!
Instead of telling your child to take a left here then take a right there, give them a destination and be curious about your teen’s decision making process. Openly discuss pros and cons of these alternative routes, from each of your perspective. Thereafter, present various options and figure out the steps of a plan, together. Moving forward, this gives your teen a roadmap on how to think thoroughly and consider both benefits and consequences before they take action – even when you’re not around.
Giving your teens “gas money” or a weekly allowance doesn’t do much for teaching them the value of money. Go one step further and talk to your teens about what it takes to make money, the responsibility of paying bills, how to navigate credit cards, and how long it can take to buy their first car if they start saving now!
For parents to raise independent teens, it’s essential to allow them to make mistakes, create processes to become better decision-makers, and learn the true value of money-management. As with driving, it may take hours, days, years of practice, practice, practice! But developing these skills during this critical part of your teen’s development is worth the independence and responsibility they’ll gain for the long run.