Let The Teenagers be Free

If you have teenage kids living at home, it may be a good idea to give them as much freedom as you possibly can.

Adolescence is the stage of life where we Homo sapiens prepare for life outside the family unit. In an ideal world, then, these years should be a dress rehearsal for real life to come later – as far as is practicable. Understandably, most parents are resistant to the young adolescents’ moves towards adulthood. The children they’ve known and nurtured all their lives suddenly seem to be rejecting all the parental advice they receive. But try not to worry about this; it’s as natural a part of human development as the whole physical process of puberty itself. To try and swim against this tide is hopeless. Kids are destined to partially reject you, as a parent, whatever you say and do because that’s exactly what Mother Nature programmed them to do.

So the best advice is to let adolescents prepare for their life to come with as much freedom as safety allows. This helps keep them truly safe – rather than letting them find an outlet elsewhere.

In the home setting, then, teenagers’ bedrooms are their sanctuary; their freedom bolthole and the more you can let them be free in this environment, the better it’s going to be for their development. Making mistakes here during this dress rehearsal is far better than making the later when it really matters.

In design terms, it’s best to let the adolescent have as much say as you possibly can in the design and furnishings in their haven. They’ll have some pretty wacky ideas that you’ll probably hate – but this is all part of a very natural separation process – and this is the very start of that process.

So within a realistic budgetary limit, if you can, let your teenagers choose their own beds, wardrobe, desk, chest of drawers or whatever else they need – and give them as much of a free hand as possible with the décor. You may not like the new look your house has – but you’re letting your fledglings try out their wings with a big safety net below them … you.

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