Your teens will give you several dilemmas. A major one would be figuring out how much independent decision-making to allow them.
While habitually doing things for your teens that they’re capable of doing themselves won’t hurt them, being the decision-maker in every situation may send an inadvertent message that you don’t trust them or lack confidence in their abilities.
The result could be children who lack self-esteem, independence and problem-solving abilities and who can’t take on age-appropriate responsibilities. You want the opposite. You want your kids to grow up with the know-how to make sensible decisions on their own.
So how can you give your teens more independence while attaining peace of mind? If you don’t know where to begin, don’t feel lost. All you need to do is put some freedom on their plate. Below are some recommended measures.
1. Allow Them to Walk Home from School
If your teenagers are 14 and above, allowing them to go home from school and stay alone while you’re at work is one of the first things you can do to give them independence. Allow them to make their own afternoon snack and run little errands like washing dishes and taking out the trash.
But if leaving them alone makes you uncomfortable, options like ADT home security and your neighbor’s supervision are available to make the situation better. For instance, a professional home security system is connected to a monitoring center where alarm triggers are sent. You can have a peace of mind knowing that your kids are being monitored by a trusted individual, day and night, even when they’re alone inside the house.
2. Let Them Prioritize
Your teens should be able to realize what is important and the order of importance. Tell them to distinct between tasks that are important and the ones that can be done in free time. The children should realize that some things seem important, but can be done later. The current time should be given to critical tasks that may affect more people.
You can help your teens get started by asking them to make a list of their daily tasks. Then, ask them to rate the tasks based on priority, beginning from what they feel should be done urgently to what they feel can be addressed later. Create a list of your own and tally their rankings with yours, and show them whether they need to re-think or they’ve prioritized well.
3. Establish Ownership
Have a “this is mine and this is yours” attitude to give them responsibility for the things they own as well as the things they’re not allowed to use without your permission. When kids know they own certain devices, they’re going to take greater care of them because they’re unlikely to have enough funds to replace damaged items. The privilege of using parent-owned devices can be revoked if the independence is abused or trust is broken.
Also, praise them if they do a good job at understanding privileges and acting responsibly. Say something positive like, “you’ve done a great job at keeping your iPad scratch-free and using it for your homework.” Praise can help them grow independent more quickly and responsibly than if you criticize the negatives and rarely acknowledge the positives.
With these measures, you’ll raise teenagers who’re successful in living an independent life.