5 Changes About Teens and Freedom: “Give Me My Independence…soon”

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Today, I was sitting with one of my teen clients and I asked her where she wants to go to college and she said she wants to stay close to home…that she might even live at home instead of the dorms.  I was shocked.

“You are a teenager!” I scoffed, “teens want to get as far away, as fast as possible, right?”  Nope, not according to most I am talking to.  More and more teens I know are prolonging typically coveted independence-marking-events.  Kids are waiting to get their license…just because.  They are staying closer to home for college, even though their parents do not ask them too.

What is going on?!

1) Independence not Individuality

Generation Y and Millenials are big into individuality, but not necessarily independence.  I know, all of my parent readers are thinking, “I don’t know Vanessa, my kid seems to really want independence.”  Yes, they want their space, but when it comes to doing things on their own…(see my next point)

2) Do-It-Yourself (with a template)

The Latchkey generation (the Gen Xers, 30-45) loved to do everything themselves and refused help.  This generation (mine) is all about Do-It-Yourself projects…as long as it comes with a template, a kit and an instructional DVD.  Our hands have been held for a long time, and we might be a little…

3) Afraid of the Unknown

Boy oh boy are we a bunch of worriers or what?  I know I am a control freak and this was a major concern when I went away to college.  Just a few of my major concerns when I left the safety of my parents nest:
-What if the laundry machine doesn’t work?
-What if I do not know anyone?
-What if I cannot find my classes?
-What if no one likes me?

Unlike, previous generations we feel these fears and they actually limit many of us, instead of just feeling like youthful challenges.

4) Fragility

You remember my article about teacup parenting?  Oh yeah, the few teens who do dive into the unknown often break down because we are not used to having our favorite organic, reduced fat, whole foods brand cream cheese in the fridge (shout out mom!).

5) Pampered

“Why should I get a car? My mom drives me wherever I want.” Check.  I get this.  But, it does not make it a good thing.  Many parents are willing to play butler/chaffeur/concierge/event planner for their teens if it means they will spend more time at home and parents will be more ‘in the know’ about their teen’s whereabouts.

I write this post to think about the few of you who have kids who might not even want their license or are thinking of going to college down the street.  Yes, it is scary when we want to be on our own, but it is an essential part of growing up!s

If you like this article, read our other Radical Parenting Articles.  If you are really inspired, think about taking the Radical Parenting Pledge..are you radical enough?

No Responses to “5 Changes About Teens and Freedom: “Give Me My Independence…soon””

  1. Vanessa
    October 17, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    From my mom:

    I am glad you like the non-fat organic cream cheese.

    By the way, even my generation worried about laundry machines and what if no one likes me. The only difference is that we were never encouraged to talk about it because feelings were taboo. So, we suffered in silence. Probably why we try to overcompensate by eliciting our children’s feelings night and day.

    I love you. I liked this post.


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