Parenting has become very challenging these days. If you are the parent of a teenager then you are bound to face stressful and challenging situations. Your child is in the process of becoming an adult and wants to be more and more independent. Suddenly you will find your teenager wanting to take their own decisions in every matter. It is important for parents to understand this change and help their children to become more confident and take wise decisions. In this post, we will show you how to Teach Your Teenager to be Independent.
Teenage years for children are difficult. Suddenly there are hormonal changes in their body, which they are unable to understand and at the same time they want to be independent in every possible thing. On the other hand, parents might not be able to accept this sudden change in their teenager. A child who was depending on them for all their decisions would now try to react and oppose their parental decisions. It is important to understand that this is a phase of life for a teenager and soon things would be fine. In the process, it is important to constantly keep the communication channels open with them and respect their right decisions.
As parents, let us look at some important tips which can help us in guiding our teenagers to be independent.
Teach Your Teenager to be Independent.
1. Start teaching your children the basics early in life.
One of the most common mistakes parents make is that they don’t start teaching their children the importance of responsibility early in life. They feel that their children are small and don’t need to behave responsibly. Actually, experts recommend to start teaching your children about responsibility early in life. Give them age appropriate chores which will help them to be independent and responsible.
Some of the things that you can ask your children to do are listed below :
- Make their own bed.
- Keep their toys and books properly.
- Finish their food and clear their plates.
- Take out their own books according to the timetable.
- Help them to make a study plan and play plan etc.
You will be surprised that children who are responsible early in life become better independent teenagers. Independence is not inherited but is learned through constant practice and responsible behavior.
2. Teach your children the importance of responsibility and accountability.
It is important to teach your children to be responsible and accountable for their behavior. As teenagers while they would want the freedom to make their own decisions, they should also be made aware of the responsibility that comes with their decisions.
3. Respect, love your teenager and understand their emotional needs.
Try and communicate with your teenager. Talk to them and show them your love and support. These teenage years are very difficult for them as they are confused, angry, anxious and want to rebel. When you speak to them, they understand that you love and value their opinions. Ask their views on family matters and hear them. You do not need to do what they say but give them a fair chance to be a part of the discussions. You can give them reasons for accepting or not taking their suggestions. This will enhance their ability to speak freely and honestly about what they feel. Try and be a good listener without giving them long sermons.
Further, it is important to show interest in your teenager’s life. You need to know their daily schedule, their friends, hobbies, what they like and don’t like etc. Avoid being critical and judgemental and instead be calm and patient. There will be many opportunities for you to lose your patience but avoid it, as it is important to be calm in order to get a favorable response from them.
4. Give them appropriate privacy but also teach them to remain safe.
This is the time when your teenager will want their own space and privacy. Even telling them the smallest thing will upset them and make them more rebellious. During these moments it is important to communicate to them what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.
Some of the points to be kept in mind are listed below :
Clearly set family rules and the consequences for non-adherence to these rules. For e.g.,
- 10 p.m. deadline to return back home.
- No drugs or substance abuse or alcohol or sex. Teach them why these things are wrong and what are the consequence of these mistakes. They need to fully understand the gravity of the situation. It is important to have open conversations and answer their queries.
- No driving if they are underage as it is illegal.
- Tell them about the danger areas like substance abuse, someone spiking their drink and taking undue advantage, negatives of unplanned pregnancy etc.
- Talk to them about real life incidences, wrong choices and the consequences which destroyed other young teenagers lives.
5. Teach life skills to teenagers.
Encourage your child to take up a part-time summer job or vacation job. This will help them to become independent and they will learn to follow instructions and rules. Further, encourage them to travel alone using the bus or train to nearby destinations. This will help them navigate to their destination and also build up their confidence level. These are important life skills for teenagers.
6. Teach your children to set goals and do proper time management.
It is important to teach your teenager to set goals and then take appropriate steps to achieve these goals. Tell them to track the progress and take necessary steps in achieving their goals. Start with something small that they like doing for e.g., if they are interested in losing weight, then ask them to set instructions for eating and doing exercise.
Time management is one more important thing that our teenagers need to know. Teach them to prioritize their activities on the basis of their importance. This will help them in utilizing their time better.
These are some of the ways which can help you teach your teenager to become independent. Teenage years are crucial years wherein parents need to be more supportive and loving towards their children.
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