how to raise teens to become independent adults

Back off on purpose. This isn’t checking out, ignoring, or any other form of apathy or poor parenting. Instead, it’s the exact opposite. By checking their grades, making all their appointments for them, keeping up with their schedules for them, they never develop the skills to do these things themselves.

However, when you leave it to your teen to keep up with these things, and he suffers a setback because he missed something, that’s good. It teaches him to dig his own way out of the consequences that fall as a result of his oversight. This is the natural process of growing up.

How will he grow up if you do everything for him? How will he be successful in the future if he doesn’t learn how to become an adult? Allow your teen to develop… don’t stunt his growth.

Let your teen make his own decisions. In my work with my clients, I often see teens in this state of ambivalence between what they believe they want and what the world pressures them to think they need. It’s an extremely stressful place to be. At this point in their lives they should be ready to begin making decisions regardless of their friend’s, or parent’s, or society’s opinion about the decision. If they screw up, good. Pick them back up. They’ll learn from the decision. Experience is still the best teacher.

And sometimes, not addressing their problem is actually a really great move. It leaves the responsibility for solving it in their court. Adolescence is a great opportunity to learn to be an adult and try decision-making skills while still in that safe place with parents. Your teens won’t be there with you forever. Give them the space they need to practice.