Teen Independence

Author and Parenting Coach, Maggie Stevens, says if you want your kids to follow the rules, involve them in the decision making process.

1. Plan Ahead. Teach your child to live in the present.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. This biblical quote (you don’t have to be religious to use it!) is something I used many times with my children. It is important to remind children that they will never be the age they are right now, ever again. So enjoy it. Live in the present because you can always go forward, but never back. I used it for topics such as dating, driving, sex, shaving legs, wearing makeup. Talk about it with your kids, even before they reach the legal age.

2. Set Rules Together

This means you must communicate. When your child comes to you with a request, sit down and talk about it. Ask questions and figure out why your daughter wants to wear makeup in kindergarten. You don’t want to make your child odd, but you also don’t want your child to be the trend setter other parents hate.

Be reasonable. If you try to be understanding and reasonable your child will also try to abide by the goals you have both set. This is your opportunity to explain your beliefs and your fears.

*Wait to single date until the age of 16

*Curfew at midnight

*Makeup by 7th grade

3. Do it Right

Teach them how to appropriately handle the behavior. Don’t expect because they know enough to ask permission they know what they are doing.

*When your daughter starts wearing makeup, teach her how. (Too much make up is not flattering.)

*Texting. Teach them when is it not appropriate to text? While driving or during class.

* Drivers License. (Take the time to drive with them. )

4. Give them an out.

Sometimes children think they are mature enough to handle a particular behavior and realize they are not ready. Parents are the perfect scapegoat. Let them out with some dignity. You do not need to say “I told you so.”

*Sleep over. if they want to come home early, give them a cell phone to use

*Party that goes wild. Before they go, tell them if at any point they want to come home you will pick them up and not question why.

5. Pay Attention. It is through your child’s behavior that you learn of your child’s needs.

If you refuse to ignore the above steps and react out of anger with a statement such as, “Absolutely Not!” and/or “Because I said so” you are setting yourself up for failure. Anger will not change the behavior. It will only put a temporary end to the request. The behavior will eventually resurface in another form at a later date. Why? Because the behavior of your child is an exhibition of a need that requires fulfillment.

When a baby is hungry, she cries

When a toddler spies a toy he wants, he takes it.

When a teenage girl dresses risque, she is looking for the attention of teenage boys and she has found a way to get it.

Don’t get angry at your child, help them. Tell them how much you love them and then teach them.

6. Safety First to ease your mind while children are spreading their wings.

Know your child’s friends.

Know their friend’s parents

Make sure your child has a way to contact you at all times and you them.

To ask questions, join the discussion board, or schedule Maggie for a parenting workshop, visit


Parent Fix by Maggie Stevens
Available at:
King’s English Book Shop
Frost’s Books

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