Teenage Independence: How Parents Can Provide Valuable Support
As a parent, you obviously want to do your best to guide your children through life and offer them the best support possible. But that isn’t always easy.
What happens when your children don’t want to accept your advice? Moreover, what will you do when they reach their teenage years and become set on doing things their own way?
Many parents struggle to support their teenagers, but it isn’t for lack of trying.
Once your child reaches a certain age, they’ll naturally want more independence. Yet, their independence doesn’t mean that they don’t need your guidance anymore. Though, you may have to adapt to learn how to support them in the best possible way.
Here are some suggestions.
Try to Understand Your Teenager
The transition to a teenager isn’t easy. The onset of puberty, new social rules, hormones, changing bodies, and so much more make for a confusing time. And because teenagers go through so many transitions, their behavior changes as well. Suddenly, your child is less reliant on you and craves independence.
These changes can be scary for a parent, but remember that your child is experiencing the same thing. If you can think back to your own teenage years, you’ll likely recall that the transition can be rough. Keep this empathy in mind and try to be patient as your child works through their most formative years.
Be a Supportive Parent
Every parent has a unique parenting style. Some parents choose to be more hands-on, while others are more hands-off. As long as your children have a support system, there is no right or wrong way to parenting. However, as your child enters their teenage years, you may suddenly feel like you’re doing everything wrong. No matter what you do or say, your teenager may resist your efforts.
As a parent, it’s hard when you feel like your teenager is pushing you away. Remember, though, that it isn’t personal, and it’s normal for teenagers to distance themselves from their parents.
Your teen will come around, eventually. And in the meantime, let them know that when they do need your advice, you’re available.
The best way to support an independent teen is to let them be just that—independent.
Of course, you’re still their parent, and they still live under your house and rules. However, you have to trust that your guidance has paid off thus far.
You can start by allowing them to go out with friends alone or by giving them a cell phone. And you can implement certain boundaries, such as a curfew or an allotted time to call and check-in. This way, your teen can have some freedom, but you can also maintain your peace of mind.
When you would do anything to ensure your child’s safety, it’s easy to become overbearing. Whereas younger children don’t mind if their parents are overbearing, most teenagers do. So instead of getting upset with your teenager for wanting to establish new boundaries, hear them out. As long as your teen isn’t exhibiting troublesome behavior, respect their desire for privacy.
Trust is crucial in any parent/child relationship, but it becomes even more important once your child is a teenager. Show your teen that you do trust and respect them by knowing the difference between being supportive and overbearing.
Your child’s teenage years won’t always be easy to get through. However, even in the toughest moments, remember that these can be rewarding years. The difficult moments will pay off in the long run.
Watching your child transition into a bright, successful young adult is incredibly fulfilling—and even more so when you’re by their side supporting them. And in your teenager’s efforts for independence, remember that you can still offer valuable support. Keep an open mind, talk to your child, and make room for them to grow.
And if you would like support in areas that might be difficult to traverse on your teenager’s journey to young adulthood, please feel free to contact us to schedule your personalized evaluation at 203.800.9778. Our teen therapists are ready to serve you and your teen.