5 Ways to Help Your Teen Be More Independent

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It’s the bittersweet moment you knew would happen one day. Your teenager is getting ready to head off to college.

As much as you’d like them to stay close to home, they’ve chosen a college that’s out of town.

So, they’ll be living on campus, in student housing, or a nearby apartment for the next few years.

As an adult, you’re aware of how this step towards independence comes with many responsibilities.

One important thing you can do is make sure they know how to perform simple maintenance on their vehicle

Although some of life’s most valuable lessons will be learned through experience, parents can ease the journey for their teens by helping them adjust to young adulthood.

Strengthen Your Bond

Your child needs to know that no matter how old they are or where they go, that you are there for them through it all.

Allowing your college-bound teen to move out on bad terms will almost guarantee that they won’t want to rely on you in young adulthood. 

parent bonding woth teen playing basketball

A strong bond between you and your teen will reinforce this idea and enable them to feel comfortable coming to you no matter how big or small their issues are.

Now is the time for one-on-one outings with your teen. 

Whether you go shopping, bowling, to the movies, an amusement park, or plan a weekend trip to San Diego, it’s quality time where you and your teen can have fun, connect, and be open about what the future holds. 

Provide a Financial Foundation 

It goes without saying that paying for college and everyday expenses aren’t cheap.

While you intend to help your college-bound teen cover some of the costs, it’s crucial to ensure that they’re financially prepared.

If you haven’t done so already, talk to your teenager about money, budgeting, managing spending, and saving. 

You should set up a checking and savings account for your teen and show them how to use them effectively.

Also, if they’re 18 or older, applying for a credit card may be ideal. You can also add them as an authorized user to your account.

Finally, discuss ways they can earn extra income to cover everyday expenses.

Discuss Uncomfortable Topics

Talking about the birds and the bees, relationships, peer pressure, and other uncomfortable topics with your college-bound teen is essential to their survival in early adulthood.

Although you may have had some version of this conversation with them with they were younger, now is the time to dig a bit deeper. 

happy independent teens

Discuss the ups and downs of dating, how to maintain healthy platonic and romantic relationships, the importance of avoiding negativity, and choosing their friends carefully.

Don’t overlook subjects like STDs, campus rapes, how to handle themselves at college parties, and what to do if they find themselves in a jam. 

Help Them Furnish Their Living Space

While they’re excited about their newfound independence, most teens report feeling homesick during the first year in college.

My cousin went to Missouri State University, and while she said looking for apartments for rent in Springfield MO was an exciting experience, after she moved in it didn’t quite feel like “home”.

Whether your teen will be living in a studio apartment, in the campus dorms, or sharing a house with other students, furnishing their living space can make them feel more at home. 

Ensure that they have everything they need to take care of themselves every day.

If you’re working on a limited budget, you can always gather things from home, check out yard sales, or shop at thrift stores to save money.

Then, add a few finishing touches by incorporating pictures, decor items, and keepsakes from home that they can turn to when they’re feeling down. 

teen driving a car

Your child has reached a new level of independence. Although it’s both exciting and scary for you and your family, you must ensure that your teen is prepared for young adulthood.

While much of life is taught through experience, giving them the basics and providing support will make their transition to college a lot easier. 

By strengthening your bond, so they feel comfortable coming to you, talking about the uncomfortable things, providing a financial foundation, and helping them furnish their living space, you put your college-bound teen in the best position to succeed. 

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