How to be more independent as a teen girl

This article was co-authored by Rahti Gorfien, PCC. Rahti Gorfien is a Life Coach and the Founder of Creative Calling Coaching, LLC. Rahti is an International Coach Federation accredited Professional Certified Coach (PCC), ACCG Accredited ADHD Coach by the ADD Coach Academy, and a Career Specialty Services Provider (CSS). She was voted one of the 15 Best Life Coaches in New York City by Expertise in 2018. She is an alumni of the New York University Graduate Acting program and has been a working theater artist for over 30 years.

There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Becoming more independent as a teen feels amazing—you get to make more of your own choices, decide who you really want to be, and learn how to rely on yourself. But how do you become more independent, especially when you’re still living at home and dealing with school? Don’t worry—it’s totally possible! This article will walk you through some easy steps you can take to start living more independently as a teen.

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

Rahti Gorfien, PCC
Life Coach Expert Interview. 17 December 2019. They will be very impressed that you volunteered to help without being asked, which will go a long way to proving how responsible you are.

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

How to be more independent as a teen girl

Rahti Gorfien, PCC
Life Coach Expert Interview. 17 December 2019. You will be free to make changes to your plans later, as you encounter new opportunities. [18] X Research source

  • Discuss career options with your parents. Be honest with them, and speak to them as an adult. [19] X Research source
  • Visualize your future. Imagine yourself having a certain type of job, or studying a particular subject, and see if it feels right for you. Studies show that visualization helps to achieve goals. [20] X Research source
  • Parenting strategies that equip kids for the real world

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    Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She’s also a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the The Verywell Mind Podcast.

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    Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

    Most parents dream of a responsible, independent teenager—one that lends a hand with household chores without being asked, always calls to check-in and hangs out with a good crowd of friends. But, in reality, all teens are going to drop the ball on responsibility (occasionally, at least).

    And while you don’t need your teen to be a perfect kid, you do need him to be ready for the realities of adulthood. To best prepare your teen for the future, it’s important to offer a balance between giving enough guidance and allowing for enough freedom.

    Let Your Teen Show How Much Freedom They Can Handle

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    Make it clear that you’ll grant more freedom when your teen proves she’s able to make good decisions. When she shows up on time for curfew, when she makes good choices with friends, and when she takes care of her responsibilities, you’ll know she can handle a little more freedom.

    Brainstorm solutions for potential situations with your teen might encounter ahead of time. Whether she’s going out with friends or you’re leaving her home alone for the night, ask her how she might handle certain issues.

    Ask, “What would you do if your friend handed you a cigarette?” or “What would you do if someone knocked on the door and said he was a repairman who needs to come in?”

    Talk about the fact that we all make mistakes sometimes. And owning up to those mistakes shows responsibility. Tell your teen if she tries to cover up her mistakes by lying or covering up her mistakes, you’ll know she’s not ready to handle more responsibilities.

    Create a Schedule With Your Teen

    Most teens have a lot going on and they need a little support with time management to behave responsibly. Sit down together and look over your teen’s schedule. Talk about how much time she should set aside for chores, homework, and extracurricular activities.

    Talk about how she can create a schedule that works best for her. While one teen might want to do homework right after school, another one might want a break for an hour before diving back into work.

    During the digital age, your teen doesn’t necessarily need a paper calendar. She might find an app or online calendar helps give her the reminders she needs to be responsible.

    When she forgets to do her chores or has to stay up late to get her homework done, look at her mistake as an opportunity to problem-solve how she can do better next time. Helping her create a schedule for herself will teach her the time management skills she needs to thrive in the adult world.

    Encourage Your Teen to Help Out

    Doing chores shows responsibility. But going above and beyond regular household chores is a great way for your teen to become more independent.

    Teach your teen to give to the community in some way. Volunteering at an animal shelter, participating in community clean-up efforts, or fundraising for a good cause can help your teen feel more responsible—which will encourage him to behave more responsibly.

    Giving to the community will help your teen see that he has the power to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s good for his self-esteem and it will help him become a proactive adult who is invested in solving problems and supporting others.

    Teach Life Skills

    It can be easy to assume that your teen is on the path to becoming independent because he excels on the soccer field or because he gets his homework done on time. But just because your teen is doing well in some areas of his life doesn’t mean he’s ready to take on the responsibilities of the real world.

    Make sure you’re investing time into teaching your teen life skills. Practical skills, like how to do the laundry and how to cook meals, are important. But it’s also essential to make sure your teen knows how to manage his money and understands how to communicate with other people effectively.

    While your teen may pick up on some of these skills simply by watching you, she won’t learn everything through observation. Proactively teach your teen how to manage a household and how to solve real-life problems.

    Be Clear About Consequences

    There will be times when your teen makes mistakes (or even purposely breaks your rules). Make sure that her poor choices lead to negative consequences. Logical consequences, like the loss of privileges, can be effective teachers.

    Resist the urge to make excuses or rescue your teen from her mistakes. Sometimes, natural consequences can serve as the best reminders to make a better choice next time.

    It’s hard to watch your child grow up and realize that she won’t be your little baby forever. However, you’re doing your teen a disservice if you don’t instill a sense of responsibility. In the long run, your teen will thank you for turning her into a responsible, independent adult.

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    Independence for a teen partly means establishing identity and becoming in all ways a separate individual. It may help parents to consider that this is actually an important part of the “work” of being a teenager.

    Independent Teen Choices

    This means making for him- or herself a number of choices that were previously made by parents. Such things as:

    • What to wear each day
    • When to get a haircut/visit a hair stylist
    • When to do homework
    • Whom to invite to one’s birthday party
    • How to arrange one’s possessions
    • What to do with one’s allowance (if the family has one)

    are usually determined for younger children. As they grow older, the responsibility becomes shared, and as they grow older, the responsibility usually passes completely into the teen’s sphere (if they haven’t earlier).

    In some cases, the result may be that a teen switches from conforming to his or her parents views to conforming to a friend or a group of friends. Usually, this is just a stage in early adolescence, and teens move on to become truly independent.

    Teen as Family Member

    Teens also often want more say about family matters. To put it in political terms, they want a democracy in which they are a voting member, rather than a dictatorship run by parents. They want to have a voice in what they eat, where they go on family days out or vacations, what movie they want to watch as a family, what music the family should listen to on car trips, what kind of pet they should acquire, etc. They may also want to have a voice in where the family lives if there is a move in the offing, or what kind of car, television, rug, family finances, or pool the family purchases.

    Teens may also want a voice in formulating the rules. As they age, there are likely to be changes in driving and car use rules, curfew rules, bedtime, and responsibilities and chores. Inviting teens to share in the decision-making – or at least give input – may lead to better cooperation and acquiescence.

    Teen Opinions and Values

    Teens are at the age, also, when they are developing independent opinions and values, and may seem to be (and in fact be) argumentative as a result, as they strive to assert their own views and beliefs.

    Teen Autonomy

    Teens are more independent also because parents are with them less of the time and know less about their activities, friends, preferences, and experiences. And they are more independent because they are attaining new responsibilities and may be driving and working, and even voting.

    Teen Rebellion

    Although there is a popular notion that teens rebel and are fractious, emotional, and not pleasant to live with, some studies show that teens and parents can have differences without it leading to problems in their relationships. Apparently, one study found that 19-year-olds in college were as close to their parents as 4th graders.

    Some rebellion can be expected as teens naturally struggle for their independence. Teens will push boundaries, argue for the sake of arguing, and compete with you in an ongoing battle for power. Finding the balance between giving them too much freedom and being overprotective is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. However, it is healthy and natural for a teen to grow into an independent adult.

    Next time your teen fights you over curfew or battles to make their own choices, have some perspective on the situation. Although parenting a teen that fights for their independence may seem like a challenge, consider the alternative. Imagine if your teen never wanted to leave the house and was content living under your roof and under your instruction for life. This would not be appropriate or healthy. A teen’s desire to become independent is an innate characteristic that assists them in growing into adulthood.

    As teens struggle for their independence, there may be times when it is appropriate to give in. This doesn’t mean to give them free reign in every situation. However, you may want to pick your battles. Teens should start exercising some control over many of their own choices. Therefore, ask yourself if the issue at hand poses an immediate threat to your teen or their safety. Although you may not agree with all the choices your teen makes, they should still be entitled to make decisions independently when it is feasible.

    Teaching independence to your teen goes hand in hand with teaching responsibility. It may not be as important for your teen to always make the right decisions as it is for them to learn accountability for the decisions they make. Set up a system of rewards and consequences that correspond with the goals you have for your teen. If they chose not to take out the trash, they learn that they cannot borrow the car. This allows teens to exercise power to make their own choices, while learning accountability and growing into independent adults.

    A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

    A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    Remind teens of safety tips like paying attention to their surroundings before they participate in activities without parental supervision.

    A teen’s first outing without parents is a big milestone.

    Most teens are eager for more freedom and parents often are nervous about what will happen when their children aren’t supervised.

    “It’s the parents’ job to guide and protect their teens,” said Dr. James Meyer, an adolescent medicine physician at Marshfield Clinic. “Letting them step into some responsibility while you still can set rules will prepare them to be independent when they leave home.”

    Reward good decisions with more responsibility

    Give teens more responsibility in steps, like letting them go on group dates before they can go on individual dates, or limiting how far new drivers can travel and how long they can use the car. Think about your kids’ extracurricular activities and how much sleep they need when deciding how long they can stay out.

    Consider their history of making good decisions when deciding if teens are ready for more independence. Kids who make impulsive decisions may need more time and guidance before they can handle more responsibility.

    “Most parents say trust is earned,” Meyer said. “Teens get more freedom and responsibility if they make good decisions.”

    When teens do make minor mistakes (and they will), let them learn from the natural consequences instead of being too hard on them. Save the serious consequences for riskier decisions.

    Stay connected and communicate

    Going out in groups can help teens stay safe if they look out for each other, but it can lead to trouble if friends encourage them to make risky decisions.

    Know whom your teens are spending time with and if any adults will be present. Talk about your family values and what to do in uncomfortable or unsafe situations.

    Find out where your kids are going. Ask them to let you know if plans change or if they will be home late.

    “When your teen tells you about something that happened, listen without judging,” Meyer said. “It’s important for parents to know what’s going on, and getting angry can shut down communication.”

    Remind teens of safety tips

    Before teens leave the house alone or with friends, go over tips to help them stay safe, even if they’ve heard them before.

    This list includes good safety information for teens:

    1. Have your cellphone charged and with you in case you need to make an emergency call.
    2. Let a parent know where you will be and whom you are with. Update them if plans change.
    3. Pay attention to your surroundings, including traffic, people around you and where you parked your car.
    4. Walk in well-lit public areas at night.
    5. Wear reflective clothes when jogging or biking at night.
    6. Keep headphones at a low volume if you wear them while walking or jogging.
    7. Don’t text and walk or drive. Remind friends to put down their phones while driving.
    8. Don’t drink alcohol or use drugs. Don’t get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs.
    9. Use parents as an excuse to leave an unsafe or uncomfortable situation.

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    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    Your teen is beginning to build the skills that will help them be an independent adult – someone able to secure a job, grow their abilities and thrive in a changing world. As a parent, you can encourage independence in your teen, while also keeping them safe and supported. Here are some ways you can encourage your teen to be independent and responsible, and to have confidence in their future.

    Different kinds of independence: home, work and school

    While some teens crave freedom and independence from a young age, others need a little push to become confident and self-motivated. Wherever your child sits on this spectrum, there is a whole range of skills they can learn that will help them to become a confident, independent adult. Skills you can help them practise are:

    • being independent at home – learning to cook, clean and do their laundry
    • managing their time – being responsible for their work and study
    • being confident in the outside world – meeting people, and dealing with new situations
    • looking out for themselves and their friends – being responsible when out and about.

    Teens mature at different rates, so what their friends are doing may not be right for your teen at the same time. It’s good to keep an open dialogue going with your teen. Talk about their developing independence, and find common ground where they feel independent and you feel assured that they’re staying safe.

    Encourage independence by setting clear boundaries

    Part of helping your teen to become independent involves agreeing boundaries around their behaviour so that you both know what’s expected and allowed. Your teen then has the chance to explore and discover things for themselves while also feeling safe and cared for. Boundaries will be different for different situations and should evolve as your teen grows older. Here are some areas where boundaries can be useful:

    • Going out with friends – where they can go and how late they can stay out.
    • Contacting you while they’re out – when and how often they should check in.
    • Using social media and devices – what platforms are okay, and any device-free times.

    Be patient: earning your teen’s trust takes time

    If your teen wants more independence than you’re comfortable with, or they’ve been untrustworthy in the past, create some activities where they can earn back your trust. Learning to be responsible and having freedom are all part of becoming an adult. Try building up trust in small increments, so you both feel safe and supported as they grow into it:

    • Agree small outings they can go on without you.
    • Practise leaving them at home alone for brief periods of time.
    • Give them space in the home. (Teenage years are an intensely private time.)

    Cultivate decision making skills

    Teaching your teen how to make decisions is a big step in preparing them for independence. If you allow them to work things out for themselves, they’ll become more able to identify and solve problems. They’ll also gain skills in rational thinking and listening, and will develop the ability to prioritise and compromise:

    • Encourage them to stay calm, listen and think things through.
    • Get them to brainstorm a wide range of possible outcomes.
    • Get them to write a list of pros and cons so they can see if it’s worth it.
    • Support them in listening to their instincts and trusting what they feel inside.

    Teach them to manage their own money

    As your teen exercises their independence and starts going out on their own more, money takes on a greater role in their lives. Learning to be responsible with money as a teen can set them on the right track financially for life. Here are some ways to help them:

    • Be a role model – demonstrate responsible money management in your own life.
    • Encourage them to earn money – pay them for doing certain chores around the house, or suggest they look for a part-time job.
    • Get them to set realistic saving goals for things they want – a habit that will help set them up for life.
    • Allow them to spend their money how they want – mistakes will help them learn.
    • Give them a say in financial decisions that affect the family – such as what holidays or excursions to plan for.

    Help them manage their own time

    Being responsible for your own time management is an important part of becoming an adult. You can help your teen feel confident that they can handle everything on their plate with a little guidance:

    • Sit down with them and create a weekly schedule – get them to plot all of their activities and responsibilities and when they’ll do them.
    • Teach them the importance of balance – make sure they allow time for work and study, but allow for free time, too.
    • Encourage them to be realistic – help them to work out how long things take, and to see that they need to allow for breaks, and for delays or problems.
    • Introduce them to time management apps – if they’re better with their device than a written list, a good app can help. Evernote, The Homework App, Trello and Google Calendar are all popular.

    It’s okay to let go!

    As a parent you want your teen to grow into a confident, capable adult. When you progressively ‘let go’ and allow your teen to become more independent, you learn to trust them and they learn to trust themselves. It requires a bit of trial and error on both sides, but with your guidance they can grow and learn, and go on to great things.

    By Jeanie Lerche Davis

    Driving fast, breaking curfew, arguing, shoplifting. Teenagers can push your patience, but unfortunately, some kids go as far as blatantly flouting rules or breaking the law, often with tragic results. What’s with this rebellious streak? How can parents funnel it into less risky business?

    All teens go through similar phases — the need for independence, a separate identity, testing authority. It’s part of growing up; it’s also linked to developmental changes in the brain that will eventually help them become analytical adults.

    But today’s teens get an extra whammy — social pressures come earlier than in previous generations.

    To understand this complex picture, WebMD turned to two of the nation’s experts.

    David Elkind, PhD, is the author of All Grown Up and No Place to Go, and is a professor of child development at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. Amy Bobrow, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and professor in the Child Study Center at New York University School of Medicine in Manhattan.

    Brain: Under Construction

    During the teenage years, the area of the brain called the prefrontal cortex is developing. This is the part of your brain that is behind your forehead. It’s your thinking cap and judgment center, Elkind explains, which means kids can now develop their own ideals and ideas.

    Whereas younger children don’t see the flaws in their parents, adolescents suddenly see the world more realistically. “They construct an ideal of what parents should be, based on their friends’ parents, on media parents. When they compare their own parents to the ideal, they find them wanting. Their parents don’t know how dress, walk, talk; they’re embarrassing,” he tells WebMD.

    All the arguments — they’re also the result of the prefrontal cortex at work, Elkind says. As a child evolves into a teenager, the brain becomes able to synthesize information into ideas. Teens want to exercise their new skill — and they tend to practice on their parents. “It may seem that they argue for the sake of arguing. But really, they’re practicing their new abilities.”

    Going Social

    Whereas wild clothes and make-up used to be a rite of passage into adolescence, that’s not true today, says Elkind. The preadolescent 11- and 12-year-olds — the Britney Spears generation — are pushing that fashion envelope.


    Body piercing, tattoos, and music are today’s “markers” of adolescence. “No self-respecting 15-year-old is going to listen to Britney Spears,” he says.

    Another dynamic: first love, first sex, first drugs, first drinking. In earlier generations, kids weren’t expected to be sexually active — or experiment with alcohol or drugs — until they turned 17 or 18, when they were better able to resist peer pressure, says Elkind. “Now they’re getting pressure at 13 and 14, when they’re too young to resist. It’s not that child development has changed, it’s that the demands are coming at earlier ages.”

    The Truth About Statistics

    Yet it is a myth that all teenagers are big risk-takers, says Bobrow at New York University.

    • Over half of teenagers will experiment with alcohol, which means nearly half will not.
    • Roughly 40% of teenagers will try drugs at least once, which means 60% will not.
    • Even fewer teens regularly use illegal substances — less than 25% of those who try them — which means the majority do not.

    “Parents are concerned that kids who try drugs use them on a regular basis, but that isn’t always the case,” she tells WebMD.

    Indeed, there’s evidence of a decline in teenage sexual experimentation, says Elkind. The pregnancy rate has gone down. “I’m not sure if it’s threat of AIDS or sex education. At any rate, those signs are good,” he says. “Also, laws in many states require parental consent laws for an abortion. That may have contributed.”

    Also, teen crime statistics have stabilized, although they have taken a different twist. “We’re finding that girls are involved in the same crimes as boys are, like armed robbery,” says Elkind. “Girls are involved in carjacking, car stealing, which used to be exclusively boy crimes.”

    Unfortunately, Elkind adds, the rates of sexually transmitted disease have not declined among teenagers.

    Of course, the fact that all teenagers aren’t as wild as some people imagine doesn’t necessarily help create peace in your home. Even the most balanced teenagers are arguing and challenging their parents, sometimes on a daily basis.

    So what can you, the parent, do to keep your relationship strong during these turbulent years?


    Spend time together, say the experts.

    • Offer to drive. You’ll learn a lot about your teenager and their friends if you drive the kids home from a concert or a dance.
    • Watch TV or a video together. “I think a lot of parents don’t feel comfortable bringing up some issues,” says Bodrow. “TV or a movie can provide great jumping-off material — a good opening for parents to open up a subject they need to discuss.”

    “The bottom line is communication — and not just at times of disapproval, discipline,” says Bodrow. “Make sure you communicate with your child when you’re proud, when he did a good job. It’s important to balance that out. Otherwise, it becomes ‘why are you always nagging me, always on my back.'”

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    You wouldn’t guess just by looking at her.

    That she’s not so much a young girl, but a more of a woman every day.

    And that now it’s as though there’s only a small window of time to teach her the many lessons she should learn.

    This fleeting, but oh-so-wonderful chance to share wisdom to a girl who’s growing up right before you.

    Because you and I both know it takes a lot to be a woman.

    And even more to be a lovely one.

    You understand – it’s not so much her appearance – but what goes on in her heart and in her mind.

    Things of truth and beauty.

    Of courage and kindness.

    Of strength and sweetness.

    So how do you prepare her for that?

    24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Girl

    1. Be gentle in words and actions. Let your beauty come from a gentle and quiet spirit (I Pet. 3:4).
    2. Determine to be strong. As a woman, you’ll face many situations where you’ll need to be steady and of a sound mind. Strength and honor are her clothing (Prov. 31:25).
    3. Live purely. There’s goodness and power in purity.
    4. Choose joy. You will bless everyone around you with your joyful countenance. Besides, it’s a lovely way to live.
    5. Seek wisdom. And as wisdom comes from above, look up (James 3).
    6. Laugh freely. It will lighten your spirit and everyone else around you too.
    7. Care for your health. Be sure and eat good foods, exercise, and get enough rest. If you care for yourself, then you’ll be better able to care for others too.
    8. Speak sweetly. People will be able – and more open – to listen to you if you do.
    9. Be willing to work hard. Learn to enjoy your tasks and take on what must be tackled (Prov. 31:13).
    10. Sing loudly. A song can both change a mood and give glory to God. So make a loud noise! (Ps. 98:4).
    11. Study many different things. Decide you’re going to be a life-long student. Learn about gardening, ancient history, bread-baking, new languages, natural medicine, geography, or anything else that fascinates you.
    12. Look after those in need. Have compassion on others and use your gifts to bless them.
    13. Bring beauty into your life. And into the life of others. Whether it be flowers, art, poetry, handwork, or bright colors.
    14. Walk through trials in faith. Don’t walk in your own strength, but trust Him who will carry you through.
    15. Dress with modesty. Truly lovely. I Tim. 2:9
    16. Invest in a few good friends. Make time for and pursue relationships with those who can encourage you, inspire you and challenge you.
    17. Prepare delicious foods. Bless those around you with your simple culinary gifts.
    18. Spend time alone in the Word. Don’t ever get too busy for time with your God.
    19. Be kind to others. Kindness isn’t all that hard to offer and yet has such a significant impact on those around you. And on her tongue is the law of kindness (Prov. 31:26b).
    20. Serve cheerfully. Look to Christ as your example, not what the world says about service. Nothing begrudging or stingy there (Phil. 2).
    21. Pray about all things. Don’t try to solve everything by yourself, but go to your Heavenly Father with your joys, cares and concerns (Eph. 6:18).
    22. Watch what you say. Your words have power to build up or tear down. So use them carefully.
    23. Love others deeply. I Corinthians 13.
    24. Draw near to God. And He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

    Yes, it takes a lot to be a woman. And even more to be a lovely one. But it’s so what I want for her.

    It’s what I want for me too.

    Lovely living.

    How to be more independent as a teen girl

    Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.

    Here’s a list of ways to stop your parents from being overprotective so you can become more independent. I wrote this for a teenager who asked for help with her mother.

    “I am 14 years old and my mother in particular is very controlling,” says Michelle on How to Cope With Controlling Parents When You Live at Home. “I have to live with her, and she constantly berates me mentally and sometimes physically. She barely lets me see friends outside of school and the few times that she does she has to know every exact detail. Your article How to Cope With Controlling Parents is for adults but I was wondering if you could write some steps for people who are adolescents? I really need help with my situation I just don’t know what to do or how to change my life.”

    I think the best way to stop your mom from being so overprotective and controlling is to start showing her that you are mature and independent.

    How to Become an Independent Teenager

    Here’s a great tip from the creators of

    “The more your parents think you are able to take care of yourself in a mature, responsible fashion, the more likely they will be to allow you your freedom. Keeping your parents informed about what is going on in your life can help to ease some of their fears. Simple things, like calling your parents to let them know where you are, can go a long way toward building trust. If you do something to lose their trust, the situation can become more difficult.”

    The more open you are with your parents, the more likely they’ll trust you (as long as you’re not doing things that are dangerous, illegal, unhealthy, or immoral!).

    Below are a few more ways to build trust and independence as a teenager. These tips are from a paper I’m writing for one of my social work classes about transitioning teenagers to adulthood. If you want your parents to trust you – if you want to become an independent teenager – then you need to start thinking about ways to be an adult! Discuss these ideas with your parents. Talk and listen to them as if you were an adult.

    Finances and Money Management

    Financial responsibility, paying rent and bills on time, saving money to get what I need and want. Short-term goals: research financial options and benefits for young adults, save money to live on your own or buy whatever you want, get a savings or checking account, create a monthly budget. Long-term goals: take a money management course through the public library and get a credit card.

    If you don’t have any money to manage, read 36 Ways for Teens to Earn Extra Money.

    Employment and Education

    Figure out what you want to be when you’re an adult. Short-term goals: Get a part-time job, research scholarships if you want to go to university, get your high school records after graduation, create a calendar for deadlines. Long-term goals: Get college applications, talk to people who are working in your industry.


    Live in own apartment or with a roommate. Short-term goals: Have somewhere to live on 19th birthday, decide if roommate is a good idea, research housing options, calculate costs of different options, find a place close to work, think about moving process. Long-term goals: Get a rental application, learn what is required for first-time renters, research household bills and expenses, live on your own as an independent teenager.


    Get a car. Short-term goals: Figure out how to get between work and home, apply for driver’s license, research how much a bus pass costs. Long-term goals: Save $4,000 to buy a car, research Craig’s List to see how much different ones cost, look into car insurance, practice reading a map.

    Self-Care and Health

    Be physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Short-term goals: Figure out what physical, emotional, and spiritual health means to me, learn about MSP, research free programs for people with low income, think about counseling or art therapy. Long-term goals: Get a doctor, think about vision and dental care.

    Are you emotionally healthy? If you feel sad a lot, read Help for Depressed Teenagers.

    Life skills

    How to be more independent as a teen girlBe able to function like an independent adult, get my parents to trust me and stop being overprotective. Short-term goals: Learn about grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning. Long-term goals: learn effective ways to communicate and stand up for myself.


    Get all my documents and ID cards (or at least know where they are! Part of being an independent teenager is knowing where your identification is). Short-term goals: Get social insurance card, birth certificate, BC photo id, create a filing system. Long-term goals: Have all my identification in a safe place and leave photocopies with someone I trust.

    Here’s another great tip for teens from “No parent is perfect. But, in most cases, parents love you and care about you in a way that no one else in the world does, even when this isn’t always clear. Relationships with parents at any age can be difficult and complicated.”

    I know 65 year old women who still have difficult relationships with their parents! Parent-child relationships can be complex and emotional, and there aren’t any easy steps to becoming independent or stopping your parents from being overprotective when you’re a teen. But, you can take steps to be as mature and healthy as possible. This will help your parents see you as an independent teenager, which may encourage them to give you more freedom.

    What do you think? Big and little comments welcome below 🙂 I can’t give advice, but sometimes it helps to vent.