It’s not easy to be a parent. Whether you are parenting a newborn baby or you are trying to navigate the tide of the toddler, a parent is always going to feel exhausted. We long for the days where our children are a lot more self-sufficient and independent, but it can be terrifying when that day comes. You want your children to grow up and feel like they have been given the space to explore and to spread their wings, and you don’t want to clip them. In fact, as a parent, you want to encourage those wings to spread. That doesn’t make it easy to see your baby growing up and. Seeing the world and spreading their sights outward, it’s not easy.
It doesn’t mean you don’t want to encourage independence, and understanding how to encourage that independence as a parent is important. Whether you do that with the help of temporary hair dyes so that your teenager can express themselves in colour, or you do that by allowing them to have a later and later curfew the older they get. You and your teenager deserve the space to discover what the world is going to be like without being joined at the hip anymore. Your child may not be following you to the bathroom every time you go, but they are still going to be looking to you for guidance and advice. And the more you give them space to be able to make their own mistakes and discover the world now, the better that they will be for it. Let’s take a look at how you could encourage more independence in your teenagers.
Make sure that you’re doing their chores
It may sound more of a dictatorship than teaching them independence, but children from a young age should be learning how to do chores. There’s going to be a day where your child goes off to college or goes off to live by themselves, and they need to be able to understand how to shop for groceries and how to budget their money. They need to know how to pay their bills and manage their rent. If you don’t teach your child to shop for their groceries and make sure they are doing their chores, then you’re going to be sending out an adult into the world who doesn’t know how to take care of themselves because you’ve always done it for them. As nice as that is, it’s not doing them any favors.
Teach them to cook
It goes along the same grade here, but you want your children to be able to cook for themselves rather than live on sandwiches and fast foods. It’s important that they have some independence in the kitchen, so once a week, at the moment they turn into a teenager, let them have autonomy about what they are cooking, they can come up with the meal, they can help buy the ingredients, and they can take themselves through a recipe and cook it for you. It’s going to be a work in progress, but it’s something that you should allow as a family and you should all take turns to cook.
Encourage them to get a job, but only if they want to
Your teenager doesn’t need to feel pressured into getting a job if they are busy with their studies and trying to balance their social life with puberty. It doesn’t have to be a requirement for them to get a job and exhaust themselves and not be able to focus on their studies. However, if your teenager is chomping at the bit to become more independent, encourage them to get a job of their own and ask them to use their money in a way that they would like, but encourage them to save as much as possible for the future one day that part-time job they have.
Work on money management skills
If you want your teenager to be more independent as time goes on, then you need to work on money management and teach them what budgeting looks like. Teach them the value of saving some of their income, using some of it for their bills, and using some of it for their leisure. If they get into the habit early of knowing how to save, they may not fall into the same debt traps or rental traps that you may have fallen into from a young age.
Give them the chance to learn to drive
If you want your children to be independent and become independent adults, then you need to make sure that they have learned to drive. Even if you don’t learn to drive and you’ve always used public transport, teaching your children this valuable skill is important, whether you pay for their driving lessons or one of you as a parent.It’s important that you allow them to translate independently. While you are also considering getting another driving license, make sure that you also are teaching them how to use public transport effectively. If they are able to transit on public transport independently and understand how to read bus timetables, they are going to be better served in the world.
Get them volunteering
The world does not revolve around your teenager, and while they may decide that the world does revolve around them, you will know different. While you want them to feel loved and excited, it’s important that you get them out there volunteering. Whether they join a mission trip at some stage or they go and join a volunteer in a charity shop, they need to see the world from a different perspective.
Let them live their consequences
Teenagers make mistakes, and that’s just a fact. You can teach them everything that you know, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it. If you want to make sure that your teenager grows into a well-rounded and independent adult, then you need to let them own their consequences. You can’t spend your whole life teaching your child right from wrong only to cover up when they do wrong.