Teens want a say. They have their opinions, and they want to share them. They want to feel empowered to think, believe, feel, and do anything and everything they want to! Some people suggest that parents should let their teens be empowered for everything. Some suggest that any empowerment is too much because teenage brains are still developing. I firmly believe in having a balance. What would happen if you started empowering your teen with small or simple things, then increasing their empowerment more and more as they demonstrate the ability to use it effectively?
Think of a child learning how to ride a bike. Providing the child with a tricycle and a safe place to ride, you are primarily in control of the situation. When the child has demonstrated the ability to use the tricycle skillfully and wisely, you move the child to a bicycle with training wheels. Your child may no longer benefit from the confines of your small driveway. When your child is ready, you remove the training wheels and move to run the first few feet alongside them. Before you know it, they are riding everywhere!
Just as children don’t become mountain bikers overnight, they benefit from time and practice with empowerment. This means that opportunities and supports along the way must be well thought out and intentional. It is much less time-consuming and sometimes a bit easier to just tell teens what to do. But the time you invest in supporting their growth will make life much easier for you and your teen in the long run.
What are you empowering your teen with right now? Let me know by posting below.