This is how you can help raise independent teens

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A child’s independence might be threatening to many parents, but it is a good skill to cultivate.

As children grow, parents want to do anything they can to ensure that their children are protected.This, however, can lead to parents to becoming too controlling. Parents can easily meddle in the lives of their teens, and fail to support their child’s emerging adult autonomy.

According to PhD candidate and Postdoctoral research fellow there are some ways parents can ensure that they are supporting their child’s independence.

Also ReadBeing a controlling parent may be detrimental to your child’s future

Check in with your child

Even if you don’t perceive yourself as controlling, your child’s perception of your behaviours is what matters most, and forms the basis of their reality. Checking with your child if you are inadvertently stepping over their autonomy will help you understand when to offer guidance.

Accept your child’s decisions

As difficult as it may be, parents of emerging adults should recognize that it’s normal that their child makes their own decision — even if those decisions differ from what the parents might choose. Making bad decisions is part of an important learning process while forming adult identity. When approaching your children about a decision you foresee as problematic, try to keep an open mind. Parents’ role is to provide support when children make their decisions, not to make the decision for them.

Praise the input and not just the results

Encourage the positive actions that your child takes, not just the results. If parents only praise their child for their achievements (such as high grades), children may come to believe that they can only make their parents proud when they succeed. Instead, parents can praise their children’s hard work, as the journey is more important than the results.

Empathise

Be understanding when your child faces difficult times or failures. Do not criticise them and suggest that they could have done better if they had acted in a different way. A child going through difficult times already feels bad; feeling like their parents are also disappointed will only make them feel worse. Moral support and understanding are key.

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