All Teens Need - Independence & Power

Teens seem like they are always in need of something. Clothes, food and an unending supply of money to fuel their lifestyle. Each teen is m...

Teens seem like they are always in need of something. Clothes, food and an unending supply of money to fuel their lifestyle. Each teen is marked by their individuality and style. One teen might be a "skater" while another is an "athlete". Or maybe you have a "gamer" or a wanna be "fashion model". Each expressing themselves in a unique way. 
Yet every teen has needs that are deeper.
These needs go beyond the surface 
and reach into their heart.
These are so crucial to their life that if they are not met in positive ways
they will seek out negative ways
 to make sure these needs are fulfilled.

These four needs are:

I am only going to tackle two of them today:

1. Independence
This word brings anxiety 
to a parent's heart but the truth is in the long run we do want them to be independent. Our goal as parents is to ready them for independence. To be apart from us and self sustaining. As they push for this independence while living with us it can get frustrating and messy.
 How can you foster independence in positive ways?

*Allow them to choose their own style. I think this is hardest for moms. Especially if you have girls. Don't make faces every time they pick out an article of clothing that doesn't meet your style goals. I want to be clear that I am not talking about modesty, I am addressing taste. Their style is an expression of who they are. 

*Allow them to choose their friends. I know sometimes their friends can be scary.....contemplate this for a minute...maybe some parent is thinking your kid is the scary one. Invite their friends to your house. Make your house "the place to be" the easy house.The house with the food, games etc. Don't throw out rules, keep the rules......but major on fun and food. This will make your house a place where your teen's friends will want to come.

*Allow them to choose their own activities. As a youth grows from a child to a teen their activities and interests change. They may have always played baseball and now they want to skateboard. Give them room to explore different activities without criticism.

2. Power
This is a loaded word. 
Power by definition is the ability to have control. Adolescence is a time when youth desire more ability to control what they do. They want to be able to feel like they have a "say" in what goes on in their lives. They want to be able to make their own decisions even if they are wrong. As your teen gets closer to their older teen years they need to be given the ability to make decisions even if you as the parent don't always agree or think it is the wisest decision. You may want to remind them all of the time to get their homework done, or to do their chores or to eat properly but the truth is as they get older they need to be able to choose to do it or not.
 I remember vividly my oldest daughter's senior year. It was a constant tug of war..... me nagging her to get her homework done. 
She finally just yelled at me and said 
"I will do it if I want to and if I don't want to I will  get a bad grade! Just let me decide!" 
She was wanting to have power in her own life. She wanted me to stop nagging her and let her deal with the consequence. 
This is SOOOOOO hard as a parent because we don't want our children to fail in anything. When this was a constant struggle in our home my daughter said to me one day
 "Is this about me or about you!?"
Wow........ sometimes there is so much truth to that. Are we afraid that we will look like we have failed as a parent so we nag & control our children into doing what we want them to do. 
Begin to give your youth some power. Allow them to make some of their own decisions even if it is not what you would do. Micromanaging only stifles teens and does not let them experience what it is like to be in control and make decisions.

These are just some ways that you can foster these needs in positive ways in your youth. are still the parent. have the "last say". 
You can always pull the
 "I am the parent and that 
is the way it is going to be" card. 

Giving them independence and power relinquishes your control and empowers them to seek wisdom and develop their own decision making skills.
Always the "end game" with your teen is  relationship with your soon to be adult and to let their self confidence blossom through making decisions on their own.

If you have questions, comments or need encouragement 
 please feel free to email me

My Joy-Filled Life



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Cindy Fincher: All Teens Need - Independence & Power
All Teens Need - Independence & Power
Cindy Fincher
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