Giving Your Teen Tools for Indendence

I have been a parent for a long time.  I have 5 kids…4 sons and 1 daughter. As a new parent I never thought I’d have to learn so many parenting techniques.  I quickly learned that what works with one kid doesn’t necessarily work with another.

Our oldest son was a very strong-willed little kid.  He would dare us to spank him when he was naughty. He’d laugh when we got angry. It took a lot of times to figure out what form of discipline worked for him.  We learned that taking away things of importance to him like his Nintendo, TV shows, even his bedroom door, caused him to listen to the rules we expected of him.

The next two sons were much easier.  I could just raise my voice or even say I was disappointed in them and they’d burst into tears. They still lost some TV time, etc., but it was less frequent than with son#1.

Then we adopted 2 older kids from Russia. Everything we had done before with the older boys never seemed to work with these two.

I realized I needed to look them in the eye as I spoke to them about consequences as they were quicker to lie to me.  I am guessing lying must be fairly common in an orphanage. Trust is a huge issue for me. If I don’t trust them, then they drive me crazy!

I have helped the older one with job applications…filling them out for her, etc…mostly because she is too lazy and struggles with the language on them. I have coached her what to say when an employer calls her. I have told her what to wear to an interview and tips on what to say and ask. Most of the time she has just blown off the interview and hasn’t gone.  Maybe I am helping too much.  I have backed off a lot the past couple of months but haven’t seen her get a job on her own yet…pretty much a necessity now that she is ‘on her own’.

She thinks she is living independently, but she is really living off her boyfriend’s family. She is happier there than with us…mostly because no one is telling her what to do all the time, I am guessing. We don’t provide for her any more except for necessary medical stuff. Maybe she’ll begin to realize she might like some money and might like to be able to get things on her own without having to beg for it from others.

So…do you give your teens any tools that help them to become more independent?


Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Everything for Adoption


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