If there is one thing that I’ve learnt since starting this parenting blog, it’s that nothing you do is going to slow down time!
It seems like just yesterday I welcomed all my kids into the world and they were cute little babies. But just look at them now!
And this got me thinking about how difficult it can be for parents to give their kids the independence they deserve once they become teenagers. After all, the eyes of their parent’s, teenagers are still just young children that need a lot of care and attention. Giving them permission to go out into the big world on their own to meet up with friends and enjoy themselves can be a big challenge, and many parents get fraught with worry.
This isn’t something that we should worry about, though. If you have brought your children up well, you can be confident knowing that they will take care of themselves as teenagers, and are responsible for lots more independence. I’m sure simply saying that won’t be enough to silence any concerns you have in your head. To try and ease those concerns, here are some tips I have for those times when you need to give your teens independence.
Meet Their Friends’ Parents
One reason why lots of parents worry so much is that they think that their child has a friend who is a particularly bad influence. We all know someone who is good at peer pressure and tries to get us to do things that we may not always want to do. Unfortunately, teens give in very easily to this type of pressure, especially if they think it will win them friends and street cred. Think your child is being pressured into bad behavior by one of their mates? Your initial instinct might be to try and stop your son or daughter from seeing this friend. But if you do that, you should expect some backlash from your child, and they might start to rebel even more. The best thing you can do is to meet any friends’ parents. In actual fact, becoming friends with them could even work to your benefit! That way, you will feel comfortable discussing their child’s influence on your teen. Hopefully, they will then have a word with their son or daughter to try and put an end to all the peer pressure.
Encourage Part-Time Work
Even though your child has done extremely well throughout school and college, their knowledge might not be enough to help them bag their dream job. It’s important to encourage them to find some part-time or weekend work, where they can gain lots of practical experience of being in a professional work environment. Not only does this greatly improve their career prospects, but it also gives your child some more independence. You never know, they might even learn some basic household responsibilities that they can start to use at home and help you with the chores!
Let Them Drive
Teens can drive once they hit 16 but just because they are legal doesn’t mean that you will be completely happy with this idea. You may think that your child will be too impulsive and reckless to be a safe and responsible driver. But you can’t stop your kids from driving. Once they are of the legal age and can afford to, there is nothing that you can do to stop them taking lessons! There is plenty that you can do to encourage them to become safer drivers, though. Your child will need comprehensive car insurance to ensure they are covered out on the road. This can be expensive for young drivers, but you can compare with Money Expert to find an affordable policy for your child. Once they are ready to get behind the wheel, you should consider taking them out for a few lessons. That gives you the chance to teach them some good habits while they prepare for their test. It is also necessary that they buy some lessons with a qualified instructor. Whenever you are in the driving seat, though, be sure to keep calm and level headed, no matter how stressed other drivers may make you feel. We all learn from example, and a bad driving example could rub off on your kids!
It is important that all children know that actions have consequences, no matter how young or old they are. Once they know that certain actions and behaviour will come with negative consequences, they will know to stay well clear of those options! You will find that children who understand the importance of their actions and the consequences that they may bring are much more likely to consider their behaviour and be better behaved. And these are the children who will grow into responsible and thoughtful teenagers. But just because you are now a parent to some very well-behaved teenagers doesn’t mean you can stop stressing the importance of consequences. It’s always important to remind them of this, as it can strengthen your trust in them, and you will then find it easier to give them plenty of independence.
Don’t Smother Them At University
One of the big milestones that most children will reach when they are teenagers is going off to university. This is a big moment for them as they will finally be fully independent! It is also a very nervous time for parents, as it is time for them to see whether everything that they have taught their children will be put to good use. Will the be able to lead an independent life without their parents? Will they be able to successfully juggle a social life with their studies? Will they be able to cook for themselves?! You will have lots of questions and worries swimming about in your mind, but you need to step back and make sure that you don’t smuggle your kids while they are at uni. Try to keep contact down to a minimum. Sure, you will want to make sure they are doing well, but they won’t want you calling every day!
Eventually, you will learn to step back and let your kids lead their very own lives!