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Age-appropriate adolescent independence

Adolescence is a time of increasing autonomy, but that doesn’t mean disconnecting from parents and family. In fact, independent adolescents are close to their parents, like doing things with their family, and have relatively few conflicts with parents.

We know that:
Giving adolescents age-appropriate freedom helps build independence and confidence. And, the opposite is also true. Adolescents who are over-protected or whose parents are intrusive often have difficulty separating from them and may have less social self-confidence.

What can parents do?

  1. Know your child; adolescents are ready for more independence at different ages. Try to encourage independence at a level that is comfortable for your youth.
  2. Make decisions together and help your teen recognize that independence also comes with responsibility.
  3. Start with small things and build from there. When teens can make their own decisions about what courses to take or about when and how to do their homework, they develop confidence that can be applied to other issues (and you have more confidence about their ability to take responsibility).
  4. Let your teen know that you care about him or her; adolescence is a time of transition, and teens need to know they are loved and huggable (They really are!).

This is posted in conjunction with Oregon Parenting Education Week 2012

The Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families promotes the development and well being of children, youth, and families by generating, translating, and sharing research-based knowledge.

The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) supports delivery of high quality parenting education programs and collaborative efforts to strengthen regional parenting education systems.

OPEC is a partnership of four of Oregon’s largest foundations (The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, The Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation) and Oregon State University.