Flying Free – The Powerful Benefits of Autonomy for Teens - Premier Counseling
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Teen girl walking down the road alone

Flying Free – The Powerful Benefits of Autonomy for Teens

By Megan Loney, ED.S, LPC

As parents, we want our kids to be safe, and even when they enter their teenage years, we can struggle to accept their autonomy. Flying free is an important aspect of growing up. Teens need to learn to be independent, and giving teens more autonomy is a great way to help them develop their decision making skills. In this blog, I’m going to walk you through some tips to help your teen fly free while still keeping them safe. At Central Arkansas Group Counseling, we offer individual, couples, and family therapy services. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of letting teens fly free.

What is “Flying Free?”

In the world of aviation, flying free is the term used when a pilot in training takes the controls for the first time. Flying free in the air means the pilot is really taking control and soaring. It’s important to remember that the first time new pilots “fly free,” there’s an experienced pilot sitting right next to them who can take the controls in case of an emergency. That’s what it’s like to let your teen try out autonomy. Give them some responsibilities and set them up to succeed, but remember, you’ll be there to help if something goes wrong.

How can Parents Encourage Teens to Fly Free?

Are you ready to let your teen fly free, but you don’t know where to get started? Give the following options a try:

  • Budgeting – whether your teen has a job or you’re giving them an allowance, work with them to establish and maintain a budget.
  • Chores – if a teen is living under your roof, they should be helping out around the house. It’s that easy. Establishing a chore list and ensuring teens stick to it will help them prepare for living on their own.
  • Failing safely – if you know your child is trying something and they probably won’t be successful (including budgeting and doing their chores), let them fail. It’s instinct to protect our kids from this but failing helps teens learn and grow.

What are the Benefits of Letting Kids Fly Free?

Even if you try to manage every aspect of your teen’s life, you won’t be able to protect them from every failure, and the odds are good your teen will just end up feeling resentful if you do control them. Instead of making yourself and your teen miserable, give them a chance to fly free. Some of the benefits of encouraging autonomy for your teen include:

  • Autonomy helps teens become better problem solvers and creative thinkers
  • When teens are flying free, they are more responsible and self-reliant
  • Autonomy allows teens to develop their own identity
  • Flying free gives teens the opportunity to develop their own code of ethics and life values
  • Allowing teens autonomy may just make them easier to live with and lead to less parent-child squabbles

The Central Arkansas Group Counseling Team is Here to Help

The Central Arkansas Group Counseling team knows that parenting can be a challenge. We work with individuals and families who are going through transitions, dealing with conflict, or otherwise want to work with one of our supportive clinicians to learn and grow as individuals or as a family unit. If you’re interested in learning more, call us in Benton or North Little Rock. We look forward to hearing from you.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash