Going to parties, getting their first car, prepping for graduation. The teenage years are packed with significant milestones – as well as increased responsibility and independence. While your teen’s personal experiences (and mistakes) will become teachable moments, your guidance can help shape them into responsible, problem-solving young adults who are prepared for all the challenges that lie ahead.
Sounds like a tall order, right? The following tips will help you teach your teen independence and learn some useful life skills along the way.
Respect Their Boundaries
While your instinct might be to monitor your son or daughter’s activities more closely (to keep them safe, or to steer them away from a bad choice), remember that you just can’t know their every move – and that’s OK. Deciding how much freedom to give your teen is the million-dollar question every parent grapples with, and the amount of freedom will be different for every family.
Boundaries, like set curfews and text check-ins, are still useful and show you care, but shifting your mindset and thinking of your teen as a young adult instead of a child will go a long way in encouraging them to become more independent.
Equip Them with Basic Life Skills
Being able to use the washing machine is a basic adult skill that your teen should be able to learn. Instead of asking when their laundry will be done, with a few tips and lessons from you they can take matters (and their clothes) into their own hands. Show them how to properly use Tide PODS to clean clothing and remove stains, Downy fabric conditioner to soften and protect, and Bounce dryer sheets to prevent static and wrinkles.
Apply the same expectations to their bedroom – they’re old enough now to take ownership of their own living space. Regular vacuuming, dusting (a Swiffer 360 Duster is great for this!) and a spray of Febreze FABRIC and AIR can keep their room looking – and smelling – fresh and clean.
Consult Their Opinion
From the destination for your family’s upcoming vacation to next week’s meal plan, ask your teen for their input. Better yet, get them to help organize a day trip on your next long weekend together, or ask them to cook for the family once a week. (These easy recipes are a great place to start!)
Asking for their opinions goes hand in hand with taking the time to listen to them. Show a genuine interest in your son or daughter’s friends, school activities, job and hobbies. Ask questions, offer support when needed and resist the urge to pry. If you set up a clear, trusting line of communication, it encourages them to come to you when they do need help with a problem.
Demonstrate Your Love
Just because your teen is growing up doesn’t mean that you need to alienate yourself from them. While they might not want you to tussle their hair or kiss them in public, make a point to tell them and show them that they are loved – even if it’s just in private.
How do you encourage your teen to branch out and be more independent? Log on or register to share your thoughts with the community!