Advice: I am responsible!
My parents aren’t letting me make any of my own decisions and I’m getting really frustrated. I don’t know why they don’t trust me. I really want to show them that I can be more independent but I haven’t been given the chance to prove it to them and I’m not sure that they would really care anyway. How can I show them that I’m responsible?
Gabby, 13. Sawtell, NSW
Our psychologist says: Striving for greater independence is a key part of developing as a teenager. The difficulty is that although you’re no longer a kid, you’re still not a full blown adult. While this whole process is annoying for you, it’s undoubtedly also challenging for your parents. Although they can see you’re not ‘little’ Gabby any more, they’re not yet ready to let go and cast you off into the ‘big, wide world’. As you’re aware, with greater independence comes greater responsibility. Chances are, if your parents can see you consistently making positive, sensible everyday choices, they ‘ll feel more confident about giving you the freedom to make ‘bigger’ decisions. Calmly discuss your frustrations with them. Ask about their concerns. Really hear them out and try to understand what the obstacles are to them allowing you more independence. It may not necessarily be a trust issue (unless you’ve let them down in the past). It’s probably more about their protective instincts kicking in and needing be sure you’re OK. Explain how important it is for you to start taking some steps to demonstrate you can be reliable. Come up with small ways you can begin showing ‘evidence’ of your increasing maturity (eg. managing your time and getting homework done without them needing to nag you; calling when you say you will if you’re out with friends). Gaining independence is a gradual process. Be prepared to take things slowly with your parents. Constantly communicate through your words and actions that you’re responsible. Hopefully, with time they’ll feel ready to let go a bit.
Over to you: Our psychologist has shared her ideas, but what do you think? Have you convinced your parents to give you more independence? How did you do it? What might help Gabby?
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