How Structure and Freedom Can Go Hand in Hand in Your Teens Success

What do you think your teenager really wants in a parent? Someone to be their best friend? A parent that lets them get away with anything? Lax rules and the ability to go where they like, until whatever time they like?

Believe it or not, teenagers are actually more likely to want parents that do their job and set boundaries. Not only is it more comfortable for the teen, it is better for their development and health.

Perhaps most surprising of all, teenagers who have a sense of structure in their home can feel a greater sense of freedom than those who don’t.

The True Meaning Of Freedom

At face value you can assume teenage freedom is one where there are no rules binding them from certain behaviors. As a parent you can see how that would be far from a positive in your home. What you might not consider is that freedom doesn’t mean that, at all.

Let’s say that Mary is 16. Her parents decided a few years before to take a hands-off approach and let her make her own decisions. After all, she is almost an adult. Why not allow her to make her mistakes and solve them? It would let her get ahead of her peers!

What choice does Mary make? She stays out late, goes to parties and eventually gets busted for underage drinking. Worst still she had an open container in the car while behind the wheel and now has had her barely-acquired license taken away for a mandatory five years. Which is a shame because now she will have to get mom or dad to take her to her community service, which will take up her entire summer.

Does Mary seem like she is free? Not even a little bit. Lack of guidance and parental structure led her down an irresponsible road, which is far from surprising. Teens have been proven to be hard wired to make reckless decisions. It is something their brain has to develop beyond.

Laying Down Hard Lines

Being a parent isn’t always fun. Your teens probably won’t thank you for setting boundaries and making sure they toe the line. But in the end you are helping them to remain safe, happy, health and - even if they don’t see it - free.

They might not thank you for it right now, but just wait a few years. Once they have grown enough to understand the value of stability they will be singing your praises.

Find out more at Liahona Academy.

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