When our kids were in elementary school it was obvious what we had to do to get them ready for the new school year. Registration. Check. Meet the teacher night. Check. School supply shopping. Check. Pictures on the first day. Check. You know the drill! If you’re like me, by the time your kids reached middle school you had the whole routine down to a science.
Then they hit junior high. And high school. And things changed. Those same kids that needed us to help them get back to school when they were little overnight became, dare I say, INDEPENDENT.
It’s at this point that parents like us have a decision to make. How are we going to approach our teen’s new found independence? In my experience, parents typically choose one of three paths to follow as our teens mature to young adults.
With the first we allow our kids all the independence they want. Letting them make their own decisions and essentially letting them spread their wings and fly. While we continue to support them financially and offer guidance when asked, we begin treating them much more like adults.
Parents along the second path stay heavily involved in all aspects of their teen’s life and try to manage all of their decisions despite their teen’s likely resistance.
And the third? It’s the path in the middle. Somewhere between allowing your teen full independence and you keeping total control. With this path, you slowly give up your control as your teen moves towards their eventual independence.
Personally and professionally, I like the path in the middle. Teenagers are still children who need nurturing and guidance from their parents. But they are also at a time in their development where they need to express their individuality and learn to make decisions on their own. [Read more...]