Support Your Teen's Independence—Safely
Think back to when your child learned to walk. With new independence, your child probably wanted to explore everything—and you probably worried that would lead to trouble.
Now that your child is a teenager, you may both feel this way again. Teens are eager to become independent, while parents want to keep them safe. It's important to discourage dangerous behavior. But you can also encourage healthy ways to explore.
To support appropriate independence:
- Encourage your teen to try something new. It might be learning a sport, taking an art class or volunteering. Your student's interests are the best guide. At the start, agree on how long your teen will stick with the new activity before dropping out if it isn't egaging.
- Monitor your teen's free time. Everyone needs time to relax. But boredom can lead to misbehavior. Teens should be reasonably busy with schoolwork and other activities, and adults should be there to supervise whenever possible.
- Encourage your teen to take exploratory courses at school. Some examples are foreign languages, marketing and computer science.
- Give your teen chances to exercise independence. You might let your student redecorate a bedroom, take on a new responsibility or choose a new hairstyle. But don't bend on important family rules—especially those about safety.
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