You are currently viewing Children and Teenagers need a Balance of Control and Freedom – 14 Jul 11

Children and Teenagers need a Balance of Control and Freedom – 14 Jul 11

Yesterday I wrote about overprotective parents who give guidelines to their children for each little detail of their lives. It keeps them from making their own decisions and taking their responsibility. What happens however when parents do the exact opposite? When they don’t give any guidance at all?

The result is clear: they go wild and are uncontrollable already in their early teenage. If you are not there to restrict and control them in those areas where they need it, they will definitely try out everything they can. And if you don’t support them with guidance in important questions, they will not learn to respect you. They have to do everything on their own, if you leave them to it. Of course they will learn quickly but maybe not in the way you would like them to. There are several areas of life in which children need restrictions, limits, control and also help in taking decisions. You cannot leave them fully to themselves, even in their teenage, when they seem old enough. They may already have grown taller than you in size but they have not made that much experience yet.

Until a certain age children need someone to keep an eye on how they utilize their free time. Their minds are not fully developed yet and they don’t have enough experience to decide what is right and what is wrong. They could find something to do which is dangerous but which they think of as interesting and adventurous. Especially in this modern time of internet and technology they have a lot of possibilities even from their home. There are video games, many of which are very violent and not suitable for them, and there are many ways they could even start gambling online. Take care of what they do in their free time and on the computer.

At home you can make rules as to what to do and what not to and they are very important but what about the time when they are out with friends? When they are not in your immediate reach? You don’t really have control in that time, so what if your 11-year-old boy sees older and much cooler guys smoking and drinking and decides that he also wants to smoke?

Then, too, you have to have a very clear decision as a parent and give a clear guideline for him not to touch cigarettes or alcohol. This education starts already before he spends more time outside with friends. Give your child clearly the instruction that tobacco and alcohol are off limits. Otherwise your child will become one of them. It has become quite normal these days to see children of that age smoking on the road, boys and girls alike. You, the parents, have to control your children. It is your responsibility and you shape their future by giving such limits. Don’t think that you are helpless. You are not. They live in your home and you are the parents. Make clear from the beginning that you are the one to set the rules and you want your children to stick to those rules. It may be difficult sometimes to stay strict but it is necessary.

As a parent, you have to be in balance and provide balance to your offspring. Children need freedom but at the same time there are some rules that the small ones need to follow. You have to set limits and boundaries for both, yourself and your children. For your child, this means a clear set of rules for things that it is supposed to do and not to do and freedom in other areas where it can develop and make its own experience. And for you this means that you give yourself a guideline for how much will you interfere in your child’s life. Stop yourself when you do too much and also stop yourself when you leave them too free and without limits. Keep the balance for you and your child.

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Janet

    Clear rules are very important for children, that is very true. Many parents want to be cool and want to be friends to their kids but that just doesn’t work. You need to be father and mother, not friends. You need to tell where to go, not just be there and watch.

  2. Ramona

    I agree Janet, mother and father don’t need to be friends. They need to be mother and father. This means setting rules but also being there if needed. They have to have many qualities that only friends cannot give.

  3. Richard

    I have taught all my children that it is fine to drink one beer or one glass of wine when they were over 16 but never to come home drunk as I would let them sleep in the backyard, no matter what the weather was. It worked quite well and I think they made it past that age without any bigger incidents!

  4. Helena

    Now my daughter will be 19 and I can say that being friends all these years helped me a lot. She tells me everything what is in her mind and ask any question but she knows that I am her MOTHER. At the same time it was really very hard job to keep this #friend# relationship because for parents maybe most easy to say NO or just be parents. To be really a good friend/parent with respect from your child is more difficult than to be just father or mother with rules. And of course to love them …..

  5. Swami Balendu

    Dear Helena,Thank you for your comment. We have a saying in India: when your shoes fit your child’s foot, make them friends. I think this is the right way to deal with children. Give my Love to your daughter and bring her sometime to India. Lots of Love.

  6. Emily

    This must be a very difficult aspect of parenting. (I don’t know yet!…but in the future). Parents want to set clear guidelines for their children, but they don’t want to limit their child’s freedom. I believe this takes a balance between the two. And ultimately, the best thing for your child is unconditional love. Even if they break your rules. Even if they make mistakes. Even if they disappoint you. Your unconditional love will give them a chance to learn and grow under your care. They will learn forgiveness, and eventually, make the right decisions for themselves because of your unending love and support.

  7. Charlotte

    Being a parent is the hardest thing you will ever do and one of the few things you will be expected to do without an instruction manual. I think one of the most important lessons I have learnt about parenting is that all children need boundaries. All children need clear boundaries within which they can be independent and also the freedom to experiment pushing against the boundaries in a safe environment. The boundaries must be simple, clear and age appropriate to be effective. The key to this is setting a good example yourself as a parent and knowing when to stop. If you shout at your children for crossing boundaries or behaving badly or inappropriately they will soon learn to shout back. If you yourself cross boundaries then your children will most likely follow.

  8. Kathryn

    My mother has always been one of my closest and best friends and I couldn’t have thanked her more. Although she always gave me strict rules, I also always felt like I could talk to her about anything. She still gives me the best guidance and is still one best friends.

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