Becoming an adult doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of growth, mistakes, and lessons learned. While this might sound a bit painful, there are steps that parents and adolescents can take to make the journey to adulthood smoother and more enjoyable. The trick is to understand what you are aiming for, as becoming an adult seems like an unclear objective.
For a parent to be able to step back, their child needs to have the right amount of freedom and the skills to act independently. It’s a delicate balance to strike, but there are some simple steps you can take to get there. Each step in this strategy will bring teens closer to independence and the exciting prospects of adulthood.
First Steps To Freedom
An ideal way to combine learning, responsibility, and independence, is for a teen to learn how to drive. The road to adulthood requires concentration, commitment, and care. These are things that come naturally with being a driver, and will undoubtedly contribute to the process of maturing. Parents can help by teaching teens or finding a driving instructor and paying for lessons.
Being able to drive gives teens the freedom to choose where they want to go. They are responsible for their schedule more than ever before; parents might still want to keep firm rules on curfews. This shift in responsibility has a positive impact on parents’ time, as they are no longer needed for driving their kids around.
Instead, parents can support their kids in other ways, such as helping with the necessary paperwork that comes with driving. For example, insurance for new drivers needs to be put in place, and parents can help them get it.
The World Of Work
Adult life requires effort, discipline, and financial independence. While teens should still have an opportunity to explore who they are, study and carry out extra-curricular activities, vital life skills can be learned through by having a job.
Experiencing the world of work could start with something small, such as a specific list of chores around the home. The critical element of this work is understanding the consequences of not doing what needs to be done. Haven’t tidied up the yard? It will look run down and messy, and they can’t have a barbecue with their friends.
Often times, being accountable to other people can help speed up this process. When teens get a part-time job, it means they have to be somewhere at a particular time and act in a certain way, a great building block for commitment and discipline. Having an income will give them an early taste of financial independence, where they can see the reward for their efforts.
Cause And Effect
Taking on activities, such as having a job and driving, will bring to light skills that need to be developed as teens move towards becoming fully-fledged members of society. Independent teens will start to experience financial responsibility through having an income and a car to look after.
Failing to manage their money efficiently will lead to them being unable to do what they want. Parents can create the right circumstances for them to manage their finances. With these new activities come new decisions to be made.
Parents can help teens weigh up short-term and long-term benefits of their choices. Good decision-making is a skill that improves with practice, so give them what they need to make these choices on their own. As long as they are putting some thought into it, it’s important to reinforce the fact that there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer.
Transitioning from an adolescent to an adult is hard for teenagers and parents. Everyone involved needs to learn new ways of approaching each other and understanding the rules of the household. In order for the strategy to work, teenagers and parents have to adapt.
Teenagers will do this by pushing the boundaries and seeing what can be done differently. Although, as they are still developing, they won’t be aware of the process. This will sometimes feel out of control and might be a little frightening.
Parents have to quickly shift their perspective on how they treat their teenager while still setting an example and applying rules. The role of caregiver is still crucial, but an enabling and supportive approach can be effective.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Having a strategy for supporting adolescents not only helps parents to feel in control but also ensures a positive outcome. The goal while raising children is to send a well-equipped young adult out into the world, where they can be a successful and happy individual. It requires letting go and taking on a new role, but the results are worth it!
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