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My 15 year old daughter wants more freedom

QUESTION: My daughter is always getting upset when I do not let her go to a party or just let her go out and hang with mates. She always says that other kids in her class get to go out and have a good time but the problem is she says she will go and hurt herself ans she says the reason for her to do this is because she does not get enough freedom. She is only 15 and is my first teenager so what do I do to let her feel that she is getting more freedom?? Please help

Thanks for your question.

Independence and freedom are the most prized ambitions of teenagers, and in many ways they are an important and normal part of growing up. Problems arise though because the desire to be independent comes a long time before the maturity to cope with independence, especially in this age when there are so many dangers so readily available to our kids.

The key to success here is to make some small concessions, and then to stand firm on the new boundaries you have set. For instance give your daughter permission to go to parties but limit the number (say only per month), and the the time she has to be home. If she wants to hang out with her mates make it conditional on all of her homework and household chores being done, and that there is a definite time she has to be home.

At 15 it is important for her to feel some sense of control over her own life while at the same time knowing that she is accountable for her behaviours to you. It is the balance between these two developmental elements that enable teens to grow into capable adults safely.

By the way, even with these concessions you will still have arguments. Kids will always push the boundaries and will always have a reason as to why “this time should be different”. One of the hardest parts of parenting a teen is remaining strong, and calm when kids turn belligerent. When a teen realises that logical argument will no longer be effective she quickly resorts to emotional blackmail or bullying. The good news is that, in spite of the hysterics, so long as parents are genuinely allowing opportunities for kids to test their emerging independence, and that other factors in family life are promoting positive relationships, kids will fairly quickly and (begrudgingly) accept the boundaries.