It’s natural. As parents, we want our teens to thrive. But the instinct to help can often lead to an overbearing parenting style that discourages autonomy and stunts maturity in teens. What’s the best way to combat this? To step back and give your teen a little independence. Sometimes, this might mean letting your teen fail in order to help them succeed.
Independence = Maturity
When a parent is always available to “pick up the pieces”, a teen gets used to not facing the consequences of their actions. Does your teen always forget vital items at home or at school? Swooping in with an assist to constantly rescue them might just be reinforcing bad habits.
Allowing your teen the freedom to fail means that they have to face what might come from their own mistakes and decisions. In other words, it gives your teen a slice of the real world. As your teen experiences the outcome of their foibles, they are more likely to learn and grow from these mishaps.
From Over-Controlling to Under-whelming
This is not to say that you should be entirely hands off with your teen. Though autonomy is a great way to develop maturity, your teen still needs their vital support network to prosper. Walking the fine line between “too much” and “not enough” can often be difficult.
One good question to ask yourself while struggling in the moment is “how will this effect my teen’s future?” If your teen is making a bad choice that will have serious and lasting repercussions, then it might be time to step in. If your teen is at risk for momentary discomfort, they might be on the brink of a teachable moment.
Danielle is a professional actor, stage combatant/fight director, and dramaturge. She has also been a professional ballroom dancer, lifeguard, and helpdesk technician. In her spare time, she likes crafting including knitting, embroidery, crochet, and sewing. Danielle enjoys writing content about families that is appropriate, friendly, and informative.