Gaining Independence

I’m going to be sharing with you the various ways in which you can begin to get a little bit more independence in your lives. If you are a young person who is going through that transitional phase of childhood into teenage years, or maybe you’ve just come into a stage where you feel like there is more stuff that you would ideally like to be allowed to do on your own without parental supervision then read on! 

Step one to gaining more freedom and independence in your life is that you first need to be consistent, and that’s probably going to need to be over a period of time longer than a day! By consistent I mean that you need to be consistently mature, you need to show that you are someone who has developed the mindset and skills of someone who should be allowed out into the big wide world. 

The challenge that you’ve got is that your parent or carer remembers all of the times when you weren’t. They remember the time when you drew on the newly painted walls, they remember when you ate a whole box of cookies and then threw up, they remember when you screamed until you were red in the face over going to bed on time. They remember when you did all of those crazy childish things. If you want to be trusted with the freedom and independence that you now want, you need to make sure that none of those sorts of things are kind of creeping in. 

Sometimes you’ll be in two minds. You’re wanting to get into the more grown-up side of things but there are also parts of you that still wants to be a child at times as well! If you are looking for the freedom and independence that you desire then you’re going to need to consistently appear to them as someone who can handle the big wide world, and isn’t going to end up drawing on the walls and vomiting cookies everywhere!

Step two to this is that you’re going to need to negotiate. You can’t go in expecting all of your demands to be met – especially the first time around. You’re going to need to be flexible and accept that some things you are not going to go exactly the way that you want them to. But if you get part of them then you’ve made progress – so don’t go screwing up the progress by demanding more when there is no chance that you’re going to get it!

For example, let’s say that you want to go to a party at your friend’s house and your parents said ‘yes’- great! BUT they request that you are home by 11:30. Don’t then start an argument about the fact that you have to come home at 11:30 because if you upset them they might say ‘fine you’re not going at all’; you just went from not going to the party, to being able to go to the party, to not being able to go to the party again.

Negotiation is when you accept that you’re not going to get ALL of what you want but hopefully, you get a significant enough proportion of it that it’s still worthwhile. A better solution would be to take the 11:30 option that they’ve offered you so that that way you go from not going to the party, to going to the party but coming home early. And when you’ve come home early you are then proving to them that you can stick to the rules and that means that next time around you might be able to extend the boundary a little bit further.

And finally, that takes me on to step three which is you must be reliable. If you start to become flaky and your parents begin to distrust your word then you won’t be given those opportunities again. If you go to the party and then don’t show up until half-past one then that’s going to cause your parent or carer to worry unnecessarily and start to believe that you’re not trustworthy enough. If you want your chances of gaining freedom and independence going forward it’s really important that they learn to trust you. To do that you need to start proving yourself to be a reliable person.

You can then start to strip to the boundaries back a little bit further as you move along the line – but make sure that you prove yourself to be a trustworthy person over time by behaving in a consistently desirable way, ensuring that they trust you going forward and making even bigger

independent growing decisions in the future.

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