How to give your Tweens more freedom, and still keep them safe?
As the summer weather approaches, the sunshine is making the days longer, so there seems to be a lot of extra time in the day when we don't have activities, or school and hanging out with friends is now the request.
I don't know about you but I struggle with this, how much freedom is right? I know they need to learn from their own experiences, and figure things out, and make SMART choices (this is my catch phrase when they leave the house "make smart choices!!" I know they love me for it!) So how does it start?
Independence is important in this time in their life but there’s no need to rush things. If they’re not ready, you'll know it. Each kid is different and only you know your child best. Carefully limiting your child’s freedom will help them mature at their own rate and also let them just enjoy being a kid (how many of us would like to go back to being a kid??).
Here are some tips when deciding ‘how much freedom a tween should have:
- Give age-appropriate freedom: The amount of freedom will be different by age, if your child is 11 maybe it's at the park behind your house, or hanging out longer after school with friends. If you have a 15 year old perhaps it's going to the movies with friends, or the arcade. Talk to them and see what they feel comfortable with and go from there.
- Set boundaries: Setting boundaries with tweens around the freedom you are giving them is important - give them a time to be home, when to check in, and where you are allowing them to go and if needed with what friends.
- Rules: Set the rules and the consequences, and make sure you both follow through on them!
Give freedom in small doses: It can be overwhelming for a tween to suddenly have freedom (if you are a helicopter parent, this will be especially hard!) Instead, allow them small freedoms and see how they react before adding more. This also gives them a chance to ‘prove’ themselves to you and build your trust. It also builds up their confidence that they can handle this new found freedom!
Good luck, you both got this!