Independent teen? Simple steps to take to raise independent teenagers

As a parent, you’re going to go through a lot of different milestones. With your baby, you’re going to beg for the moments that they sleep through the night. With your school-aged child, you’re going to beg for the moments they stop asking a million questions before breakfast. Our children spend a lot of time needing us and leaning on us from the moment they’re born, and we love this because this is exactly what they should be doing. As their parents, we are there to dress them, feed them, teach them everything we can – and we are also there to teach them to be an independent teen.

Parenting is basically teaching our children to be more independent from us. We go from doing the school drop off to presenting the kids with key chains so that they can get themselves to and from school. It’s a big deal, and it takes a piece of us as parents – well, we give that piece away, but it doesn’t hurt less. While you know you’re raising your children to be independent from you, raising an independent teen is entirely different. Teenagers believe they know the world and they have a lot of insecurity mixed up in self-assurance. For example, teenagers are insecure about everyone and everything about them, but they believe that they know everything they need. Of course they don’t, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make them feel more independent anyway. So, with all of this in mind, we’ve put together some of the best ways that you can raise an independent teen.

Give them jobs

Teenagers need structure and responsibility to be able to function in a healthy way, and as they inch towards adulthood, they need to take on more and more responsibility so that they can function independently. As they age, you can give them more and more jobs to do in the home and in their lives, and encourage them to get a paid weekend job as early as possible. When you give your teenager things to do in the house, you are teaching them how to take care of themselves. With prepaid debit cards for kids to avoid overdrafting, teenagers can save the income from their weekend job and spend it without the risk of getting into debt.

Talk about opportunities

Before you go ahead and offload a ton of chores into your teenager, talk to them about the opportunities that they have in the house. A teenager sees themselves doing chores, which is dramatic and a bad thing. Instead, teach your kids how to see laundry as an opportunity to learn how to wash their own clothes when they head to college, or when they move out. Teaching them to cook their favorite meals is an opportunity to teach them to cook for their own friends and feed themselves.

Teach them about timing

When you have children, they have every opportunity to be cared for and waited on. Children need us to coddle and love them as much as possible, but they don’t have a concept of how long things take so we chivvy them along as much as possible. As teenagers, they have to start taking responsibility for their timings, so it’s important that you teach them to use an alarm clock and look after their own schedules.

Compromise

Teenagers often feel everything is piled up on them, and when this happens, they immediately reject everything you tell them. So, when they dig in their heels and refuse to do anything, inject a little fun. Talk through how they can take care of themselves better with the right help and advice. Yes, teenagers need independence but that doesn’t mean that you have to leave them stranded while they learn it all.

Don’t expect perfection

Teenagers are still learning, much like toddlers. They need to make mistakes along the way while they are learning how to slowly cut the apron strings. Teenagers will make mistakes and they will mess up and they need you to catch them and not berate them along the way. Allow them to make mistakes and go with gentle correction rather than humiliation. It’ll go a long way!

Be gracious

While you are teaching your teenager to be independent, you should also know that they will continue to lean on you and need you. Just because they think they know it all doesn’t mean that they do. Let them learn from you while they lean on you; they need that support.

Teenagers need to get through to adulthood feeling as if they have learned something, and you are the one to teach them. Independence is a must and an independent teen is a thriving teen because you are going to let them into the world independent and happy individuals!

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

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