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Sleepovers & Bedtime

Privileges and Freedom

It's scary to think about your child making her own decisions. Whether or not we, as parents, can handle this concept, it's going to happen. Although your teen or tween may not be going off to college for a few more years, it's important to prepare her for the decision making she will inevitably encounter there.

Trusting Children is a Balancing Act

Giving your child more freedom can truly seem like a balancing act. You don't want to give away too much or hold on to too little, that's why it's important to balance freedom with structure. You need to learn how to recognize the moments when your child needs more freedom and when it's time to rein her in. Here are some tips to help you learn the difference:

  • Stay involved. Just because you're giving your child more freedom does not mean you shouldn't stay aware of what is going on in her life. Be caring rather than controlling, and make it a point to have daily talks about situations your child may be experiencing.
  • Test freedom slowly. If you think your child is ready for more freedom, test the waters gradually. Instead of calling your child to keep tabs on her, require that she call you at a certain time. You can also try increasing her curfew through in increments. These tests may seem insignificant, but it will help you gauge if you if your child is willing to accept more responsibility.
  • Work off past experiences. By the time your child has grown into a teen, you should have a good idea of how mature and responsible she is. Allow more freedom according to what you know, but, if issues arise, you may need to restrict some privileges.
  • Talk to other parents. See what freedoms or privileges other parents are giving to their children, but don't feel the need to increase your child's curfew, etc. just because other parents are. You know your child better than anyone else.

Protection Supersedes Privacy!

If you ever suspect there is an issue or an underlying problem, it is your responsibility to take action. While you may be trying to provide your child with newfound freedom, it's important to continue to be there if she finds herself in trouble. Remember, allow more freedom only to the extent to which both of you are comfortable.