THE QUEST FOR FREEDOM
WHAT IS AN ADULT?
“You treat me like a child” is
a cry heard mostly in early and mid-adolescence.
Parents and teenagers often bring out the worst
in each other as the teenager tries to gain
power, and the parents fight to stay in control.
But what does being an adult mean? It also means
being able to question adult orders rather than
simply accept them. If each believes the other
shares their view, both will be
Case in point
“Sam, our 16 year old
son is always asking us to treat him like an
adult, but there are times when he seems even
more irresponsible than our 10-year-old.”
For parents, it
means being responsible, living up to certain
standards that the parent thinks desirable.
For teenagers, it
means being independent, being allowed to run
their lives the way they want to, and choosing
their own friends, clothes, and leisure
THOUGHTS ON INDEPENDENCE &
: He’s not a child any more.
Teenager’s view :
I’m not a child any more.
Parent : She should
be more responsible.
Teenager : I want to be more independent.
Parent : He should
choose his friends a bit more carefully.
Teenager : I’m old
enough to choose my own friends.
Parent : She ought
to spend more time working than fooling around.
Teenager : What I do in
my own time is up to me.
Parent : He must be
responsible enough to be home at the agreed time
Teenager : Why should I
have to get home at the time they said?
Parent : She’s
old enough to help around the house a bit
I’m tired of them always telling me what
Parent : He’s
old enough to tidy his room without me nagging
It’s my room. Why can’t I keep it
the way I want?
Parent : She would
realize that smoking is bad for her health.
Teenager : I know smoking
is bad for me, but can I decide, PLEASE?
old enough to behave how an adult ought to
I’m old enough to decide how to run my own
Here's a Quiz on Freedom; At what age of
life what you would allow your Son/ Daughter to
indulge in the various activities described.
There are no right or wrong
answers to these questions because there are
no hard and fast rules, but you should try to
make decisions about freedom based upon how
mature you think your youngster is (not how old
he or she is).
Your teenager will always
demand more freedom than you are prepared to
Lack of freedom seems to be
more of an issue for girls, especially in
early and late adolescence. Maybe this is
parental sexism, which leads parents to believe
they must be more protective of girls.
you decide will depend on how you assess your
own child and the particular circumstances.
Deciding when you should allow your youngster to
go out at night, for example, must depend
largely on where you live, the distances
involved, and the transportation available.
become self-sufficient sooner than boys, and a
15-year-old girl will see herself as much more
of an adult than boys of the same age.
Parents, however, are more protective of
girls than they are of boys, and may be less
willing to give them the independence they need.