Teenagers grow at an accelerated rate. One day they’re kids, and the next, they seem fully grown — but even as their bodies grow into adulthood, their minds are still developing. They still have a lot to learn.
Due to this, most teenagers crave independence and fewer rules. They tend to challenge authority, test their parents’ limits, and can be irritable. All of this can make it difficult to strike a balance between independence and boundaries.
The Importance of Independence in Teenage Girls
You want your teenage daughter to succeed. You want her to make good choices and set herself on the right path. However, teenagers need to build assurance within themselves to function independently without relying on their parents so heavily. To help your teenager become a well-rounded adult, she needs at least some level of freedom.
A teenage girl needs to establish a sense of control over her own life. When a teenager has a healthy level of control, she is more able to refrain from risky behaviors, cope with stress, improve academic performance, and be happier.
Most teens desire freedom, and although that may scare you, freedom teaches teenagers what they are capable of and what their limits are. As teenagers prepare to become adults, they take on more responsibility and accountability. Without freedom, teens won’t learn how to:
- Consider the consequences of their actions
- Admit their wrongdoings and learn from them
- Care about the well-being of others
- Show integrity
- Build confidence
- Practice self-discipline and self-control
- Be respectful
- Fulfill obligations
These are all parts of being a successful adult. You don’t want them to jump into the world and fail. By taking these steps toward autonomy now, they ease into independence with a safety net. As you allow your teen more trust and space to grow into their own person, they develop trust in themselves.
A major part of developing independence as a teen is taking on more responsibility and living up to it. Teens want to be independent, but that comes with the responsibility of making good decisions or dealing with the consequences.
Although parents should take a step back at this time in their child’s life, they still play a significant role in teaching by example. When you are interested in your child’s life, you offer advice, information, and values that will guide them to the right choices. While you encourage your teen to be more independent, you inspire them to use their newfound freedom to build their skills and learn from mistakes.
As a parent, you want your teen to make their own choices. They will have all the information you’ve given them to prepare, but they build confidence as they take off the training wheels and try things themselves. They feel proud when they accomplish something on their own. They know what to say yes to and what to avoid. Making challenging choices becomes easier the more experience they gain.
Balancing Independence in Teenage Girls
Children need to use their teenage years to learn before facing adult stressors, but you also want to protect them. Finding a balance between setting rules and giving your teenager freedom is challenging. You may want to set strict guidelines to ensure their safety and security, but you don’t want to hold them back from experiencing life.
Some ways you can balance those desires are:
Include Your Teenager in Setting the Rules
If your teenager is present when you make the rules, they are more likely to follow them. If you can compromise on things like curfew, they will feel it is fair and that you took their feelings into account.
Choose Your Battles
You may set strict rules about schoolwork and socializing, but consider the motivation behind those rules. Do you want your teen to focus solely on school without attending to their friendships and mental health? Sometimes explaining why you set certain rules, getting feedback, and adjusting is better than being too harsh with a rule.
Let Them Know the Consequences
Teaching teenagers that their actions have consequences is an important step. This will give them a hint at what life as an adult will be like. When teenagers know what to expect from misbehaving, they are less likely to do so.
Let Your Teenager Make Decisions
You won’t just give your teenager a free for all, but letting them make choices allows them freedom within boundaries that keep them safe.
Cooperating With Your Teen
Teenagers with a good balance of freedom and rules are more likely to be driven and disciplined throughout life. Still, some teens will make poor choices; that is part of life. However, even making mistakes is a way for them to learn independence and resilience. Knowing they have your support, whether they succeed or not, teaches them that they can come to you.
It can be difficult to guide your teenager without controlling them. Too much control leads to resistance. If you tell your child they can’t do something, they will want to do it. However, if you talk them through your concerns and let them decide, they are clearing their own path.
Teenagers may struggle with decision-making and risk-taking because they either have too much freedom or too many restrictions. Teaching teenagers that they can take on more responsibility and independence is key. Being a teenager’s parent is never easy, but as you watch them grow into an adult, it fills you with pride. At Havenwood Academy, we help teen girls with histories of trauma and mental health conditions mature with all the skills they need to thrive throughout their lives. They will not only be properly educated but also take part in multiple therapies and activities to improve their mental and emotional health, life skills, relationships, and independence. If you and your family are struggling to balance independence and rules for your teenage daughter, we can help. Call us at (435) 586-2500 today, so we can get you started on this journey.
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