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Freedom & Responsibility: How Much Freedom Should I Give My Teenager?

As your child transitions into their teenage years, you can expect them to want more freedom. Teens get annoyed if they feel like they’re being treated like a little kid. They want to branch out on their own, have their own hobbies, hang out with their friends, and generally be able to do more things without adult supervision.

In an ideal world, you would slowly give your teen more freedom as they prove that they can handle it. They would manage their freedom well and never even consider breaking your trust. You would never have to worry about where they are or what they’re doing, and they would be content with all of your rules.

Unfortunately, life is rarely ideal. Your teen will make mistakes. They’ll slip up and stretch your rules too far. In all likelihood, they’re going to want more freedom than you’re willing to give them. Teens often feel like they should be treated like adults, even though they can’t handle the responsibility of adulthood yet. The teen years are a weird mix of wanting more freedom and learning how to manage it.

How much freedom should I give my teenager?

Since life is messy, there’s no clear answer to how much freedom you should give your teenager. Freedom should be dished out on a case-by-case basis. You need to give your teen enough room to make mistakes and learn from them, but you also don’t want them to make catastrophic mistakes.

You might be tempted to keep hovering over them like you did when they were little, but that won’t benefit them either. The teenage years should be a testing ground for adulthood. During adolescence, teens learn valuable lessons about self-regulation that will benefit them as they become adults. Without the opportunity to make their own choices, they won’t become self-sufficient adults.

Too much freedom = teens can get into big trouble

Not enough freedom = teens don’t learn how to make decisions on their own

As your teen gets older and their maturity level increases,