As your child reaches their teen years, you’ll start to notice major changes in their attitude, preferences, and behavior. Teens are learning how to become more independent, and for some families, this can stir up conflict. Teens might seem more argumentative than usual as they learn to assert themselves. Understanding your teenager can help you and your child navigate the transition from childhood into adulthood.
While watching your child grow up can be challenging, preparing your teen for independence is a necessary part of life. Letting them try new things and explore life independently will help them gain valuable skills like confidence and responsibility. Children need the guidance and support of their families to help them become successful adults. The following strategies can help you foster independence in your teen.
1. Give Them Responsibility Through Household Chores
Part of becoming independent is learning to do things on your own. Learning to cook and clean is essential, and giving your child chores teaches them many other life lessons. Chores can help your teen develop the following skills:
- Responsibility: Expecting your teen to complete their chores teaches them to be accountable for their actions.
- Diligence: Putting in the time and effort to complete chores teaches your child the value of hard work. Learning how to work diligently will make it easier for them to accomplish challenging tasks in the future.
- Teamwork: Helping the family with chores makes your child feel like part of a team. Learning how to be a good team member as a teenager will give them the skills to support their coworkers when they get a job.
- Time management: Teens will learn how to prioritize their time to complete their responsibilities. Managing these simple tasks can prepare them for getting a job or going to college.
2. Ask for Their Opinion and Thoughts
Preparing your teen for independence includes teaching them how to form their own ideas and opinions. They should be able to make independent conclusions about the world without the influence of other people. Teens must learn how to make careful decisions and trust their judgment to advocate for themselves. They should be able to make educated decisions based on reliable sources.
As a parent, you should emphasize your family values and encourage your teen to share their perspective on various topics. They might not always agree with your ideas, and they need to learn to defend their thoughts and opinions. Participating in respectful debates can teach them how to interact with people who have different points of view. You can ask them questions about their ideas to help them form critical thinking skills.
3. Have Them Help Take Care of Younger Siblings
Asking your teen to watch one of their siblings or babysit for someone else can help them become more independent. It’s a big responsibility to take care of other kids, and it can help them learn how to take care of themselves. They will gain valuable life skills like patience, organization, kindness, and confidence in their abilities. It allows them to prove that they can handle being in charge.
Trusting your teen with this task will help them mature into an independent young adult.
4. Allow Them to Spend More Time Away From You
When your child enters high school, they’re probably going to want to start spending more time with other people. Once they get their driver’s license, they may want to make plans with friends more often. While you might not want your child going to parties and sleepovers every weekend, letting them get out of the house every so often is crucial. Teens need time away from home to gain independence and practice making their own decisions. It teaches them how to deal with new situations on their own.
While it’s good to give them some freedom, you should still set boundaries for teens. Ask them to update you on where they are and what they’re doing. This way, you can let them build their independence while ensuring they are safe and healthy.
5. Let Them Keep Track of Their Projects, Tests, and School Work
Most parents play an active role in their child’s education throughout elementary and middle school. You might’ve taught your child how to use a planner or made sure they studied before a big test.
When your child enters high school, you can transition to more of a supporting role. Letting your teen keep track of their schoolwork will help them become more independent. They can handle the responsibility of getting their work done on time. If they choose to play video games instead of preparing for class, they must accept the consequences.
While they might miss an assignment or two at first, over time, their organization and time management skills will improve with practice. Teaching your teenager to be an independent learner will make it easier for them to transition into college or the workforce.
6. Allow Them to Organize Their Schedule
Modern teenagers are very busy. Some children must juggle their schoolwork with extracurricular activities and a part-time job. Letting them manage their schedule will teach them responsibility. They’re in charge of writing down important dates and making sure they make it to the right place at the right time. Giving them the freedom to manage their time promotes independence. They can decide if they want to participate in more activities or have more time to spend with friends and family.
The online school program at Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) gives students the flexibility to learn at the most convenient times for them. High school students play an active role in planning their daily activities. They can adapt their schedule to stay ahead in school while pursuing other interests and opportunities.
Learning Independence at School
Promoting independence in teens is built into the curriculum at CCA. Our online high school helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to become independent adults.
Students play an active role in their education, choosing courses that match their interests. They can choose from a wide range of career-focused courses or pursue an internship to help them prepare for life after graduation. Students learn to succeed after high school with our CCAWorks™ initiative, Career Pathways program, and college preparation services. We strive to transform the learners of today into the leaders of tomorrow.
Get in touch with us online to learn more about how CCA can help teach your student independence.