It’s a scary world out there, and it can be quite difficult to give our kids the independence that they truly need.
What does independence offer our children? It offers them the opportunity to make mistakes, helps build life skills and promotes confidence. For example, teenagers can navigate making an appropriate decision, if they miss the bus or train, then they are not overwhelmed with solving the issue of when is the next one. Change can be hard to navigate for teenagers, and it’s independence that creates problem-solving and good self-esteem
Gradually loosening the reigns on your child, giving them extra little bits of freedom and independence will allow them to grow at a rate they so chose to, in a controlled manner. Life is meant to be messy, and the sooner they learn to manage those tricky waters, the more well-adjusted they will become as they lead into adulthood.
So, how can we give our kids the independence that they crave?
- Communication – ask them what they feel ready to tackle on their own and help them to get there if needed. Express your views and then ask your child for theirs. You want them to understand about safety, but you also want them to be excited about the places that they are going to.
- Gradual steps – use activities that socialise with friends by allowing them to build their confidence with independence for example drive them to the shopping centre, and then pick them up, and then next time get them to get the bus home instead.
- Compromise – still thinking about the safe options for them, but work with them to let them have freedom with friends and making decisions. You both need to comfortable with the decision and fits with your family rules and values.
- Praise and welcome – When they get home safely, welcome them home and then praise them for doing it on their own.
- Clearly state your decision and why – if your child wants to go to a concert, tell them that they need to text you that they arrived safely and tell them when you are picking them up.
WAYS psychologists are experienced in assisting young parents in all areas of effective communication and any mental health, relationship and or family issues that you may be faced with.
Our psychologists Courtney and Luke offer short and long term individual and family therapy, mental health assessments, psychoeducation workshops and information seminars on a range of topics that are delivered to schools and community groups. All sessions are free and are available at either WAYS Bondi Beach or Bondi Junction.
WAYS G.P, Dr Jessica Ivany is a highly experienced, skilled and passionate G.P, who is a specialist in general and adolescent and family medicine and mental health. Dr Ivany is available Thursdays 1 pm – 4 pm. Please call 02 9388 9455 to make an appointment.
WAYS also hosts free biannual parenting seminars that educate parents on how to communicate effectively and resolve conflict with their children. This course will assist parents to build stronger parent-child relationships and better manage and understand their adolescent’s behaviour. Visit our website to keep up to date with our next event.
If you want to talk to any of WAYS professionals, please give us a call on 9365 2500 or email us at [email protected].