While younger children tend to be reliant and dependent on their parents, adolescents desire more freedom and autonomy from their parents as a developmental imperative. With freedom also comes the need for discipline and an understanding of the consequences for abusing freedom, says psychologist Carl Pickhardt, writing for “Psychology Today.” Teens who require more freedom from their parents must understand that there are related responsibilities that come with increased independence.
Honesty and Trustworthiness
If you want your parents to give you more freedom, it's best to earn it by showing them you are honest and can be trusted with this added freedom. Being honest and trustworthy means being truthful about where you are, what you are doing with friends and having the integrity to admit when you have done something wrong. If your parents allow you to go to a friend’s home under the impression that your friend’s parents will be there and they are not, call your parents and inform them of the change of plans. If your parents give you a curfew to follow, promptly return and show consistency in meeting your curfew. This behavior may encourage your parents to extend your curfew as you become older and demonstrate more trustworthiness.
Showing your parents that you are responsible is also another way for your parents to increase the amount of freedom they give to you. Being responsible as an adolescent means completing your homework on time, without your parents reminding or reprimanding you to do so. It means completing household chores consistently and efficiently. Responsible behavior falls in line with honesty mentioned above, too. If you are out with friends and some of them are engaging in negative behaviors, it’s your responsibility to separate yourself from this conduct, or else risk the consequence of having some of your freedoms revoked. It’s essential to understand the connection between choices and consequences, says Pickhardt, so that you learn to make good choices that won’t infringe upon your freedoms.
Effective and Open Communication
Practicing healthy communication with your parents is a great way to increase the amount of freedom they give to you. Healthy communication includes telling your parents where you are, informing them of any romantic relationships you are involved in and being honest about whether or not you are sexually active. If your parents have problems getting in touch with you when they call or text, then this shows poor communication and indicates that you may be hiding something. This can jeopardize your current freedoms and presents opportunities for conflicts and disturbances in communication. Be proactive and shoot your parents a text letting them know that you’re staying after school to attend a football game or for extra homework help.
Admit When You are Wrong
As mentioned before, your parents will have an increased amount of trust in you – and may grant you more freedom – if they believe that you have the integrity to admit when you have done something wrong. Adolescence is a time of great adventure and self-discovery. You are bound to make mistakes, but this is often useful as it provides you with learning opportunities that prepare you for independent living. Teens often make questionable choices, such as choosing to drink alcohol or use illicit drugs. If your parents ask whether you’ve engaged in this kind of behavior, muster up the courage to admit your wrongdoings as opposed to lying to them. Your parents have a past, too, and are best equipped to provide you with the guidance you’ll need to face these types of challenges while still making good decisions.