Columns | Kane County Chronicle

Helping teens achieve independence: 10 tips for parents

Achieving independence is an important goal of growing up, and one that can be challenging for both teens and parents. As teens start to navigate the world on their own, they’ll face new responsibilities and opportunities and they’ll need to develop the skills and confidence to make good decisions. Here are some tips to help teens become more independent:

1. Set goals: Encourage teens to set goals for themselves. This can be anything from getting a part-time job to getting good grades to learning a new skill. Setting goals will give teens a sense of direction and purpose, and it will help them stay focused and motivated.

2. Develop time management skills: Time management is key to becoming more independent. Help teens create a schedule and stick to it. This will help them balance their schoolwork, extracurricular activities and social life.

3. Learn to cook: Cooking is an essential life skill and it’s a great way for teens to become more independent. Encourage teens to try out new recipes and experiment with ingredients. Cooking also can be a fun and social activity that teens can do with friends.

4. Learn to budget: Budgeting is another important life skill, and it’s a great way for teens to become more independent. Encourage teens to track their spending and set a budget for themselves. This will help them learn how to manage their money and make better financial decisions.

5. Take responsibility for their actions: Encourage teens to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable for their decisions. This will help them develop a sense of self-discipline and self-control, and it will help them make better decisions in the future.

6. Seek out new experiences: Encourage teens to seek out new experiences and try new things. This will help them develop new skills, interests and confidence. It also will help them gain a broader perspective on the world and meet new people.

7. Learn to solve problems: Encourage teens to learn how to solve problems. This will help them become more independent and develop critical thinking skills.

8. Communicate effectively: Encourage teens to develop good communication skills. This will help them express themselves clearly and understand others. It also will help them build stronger relationships and resolve conflicts more effectively.

9. Get involved in volunteer work: Encourage teens to get involved in volunteer work. This will help them develop a sense of responsibility and learn new skills. It also will help them make a positive impact in their community.

10. Seek guidance: Encourage teens to seek guidance from adults they trust. This could be parents, teachers, counselors or mentors. These individuals can provide valuable advice and support as teens navigate the challenges of growing up.

Becoming more independent is an important part of growing up. As parents, one of the greatest rewards is seeing your teen grow into a confident and independent young adult. By fostering their independence, you are equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in life. Independence also promotes responsibility, self-esteem and decision-making abilities, all of which serve your teen well as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of adulthood. Supporting your teen’s journey toward independence is a valuable investment in their future and a proud moment for any parent.

• Lisa Aguilar is a specialist in school psychology and an education consultant at Action Consulting and Therapy in Geneva.