“You aren’t the boss of me!” “I can take care of myself.”

pexels-photo-58457Independence and autonomy are critical to healthy teen development. One of the most important tasks for all adolescents is learning the skills that will help them make healthy choices and manage their own lives. As your young teen becomes more responsible, increase his or her options for independence.

Be an eParent®! Work with your child to register for a free online personal finance program, like www.cashcourse.org, to access budgeting and other money management tools. As your child shows ability to budget, give her more financial freedom. For instance, give your child the money you might have spent on school clothes and have her use a budgeting tool to plan what she will purchase with the money.

Autonomy refers to an adolecent’s increasing ability to think, feel, make decisions, and act on his or her own. Parents and other adults can help youth develop this sense of self-governance, responsibility and independence by giving them age-appropriate freedom.  Help your tween recognize that independence comes with responsibility. Start by making decisions together and build from there by gradually allowing them to make their own choices about increasingly complex situations.

When teens can make their own choices about what to wear or about when and how they do their homework, they become more confident and competent in their ability to manage their life. Remember, adolescence is a time of testing and transition and they need to know they are loved and appreciated, even if they make a poor decision.

Listen to or read about Giving Teens a Voice in Health Care Decisions.

To learn more explore our Parenting and Family Relationships website or like us on Facebook.

Revised November 2018

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