Teenagers enjoy the freedom that comes with driving.

What Freedoms Do Teenagers Value?

by Kimberly Dyke

It can be difficult to see your teenager becoming an adult before your eyes. One day he is watching a puppet show on TV, learning how to count, and the next he is asking for the keys to drive his girlfriend to a movie. Your teenager still needs your guidance while experiencing some freedom within a safe environment. Setting boundaries will help you both know where the freedoms begin and end.

1. Self-Expression

It is not unusual to see your child trying on different personalities and personal styles throughout the teen years. Teenagers enjoy the freedom of changing their hairstyle, hair color and dressing like pop stars. Their taste in music may begin with Top 40 radio hits and then transition to jazz or heavy metal. Parents should realize that it is okay to ignore these changes and that they typically are not permanent. Draw the boundary lines for bigger battles that can affect your teen’s health and safety, like substance abuse or unsafe driving.

2. Bargaining

Parents generally expect their young children to obey when given instructions. For example, telling a child that she needs to brush her teeth or clean his room is a non-negotiable directive. Teenagers, however, become the masters of arguing, compromising and negotiating. According to an article on PsychologyToday.com, these developing bargaining skills will be helpful in their adult lives. It may be frustrating for the parents on the other end, but teens value the ability to defend their viewpoint and work toward an agreeable solution.

3. Friends

Spending time with friends is a lifeline for many teenagers. They feel a need to be included, accepted and a pivotal part of their peer group, according to an article by the University of Texas. Whether their friends are all wearing combat boots and cargo pants, playing team sports or experimenting with substance abuse, teenagers can easily fall into the pressure of the overall group behavior. Parents can encourage their teens to spend time with friends, but must give them the tools to stand up for their personal convictions.

4. Independence

Teenagers enjoy testing the waters to find out if they have what it takes to make adult decisions. Parents can give their teen responsibilities like paying his personal cell phone bill, going to a dental check-up alone or even ordering a pizza for delivery over the phone. Giving your child the opportunity to succeed in real-life situations can help develop his skills for the future. While mom and dad should not rescue their teen from negative consequences, it is much easier for your teenager to handle an unfavorable outcome while still living at home.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.

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