When should a parent decide, “My child is old enough to live completely free of my influence”?
By the way, “Never!” is not a good answer.
Children on their way to adulthood have always struggled for independence against their parents. What’s changed is how parents view childhood between the ages of 13 and 20.
The concept of “adolescence” has only been around for 100 years or so. The terms “adolescent” and “teenager” were first used around 1941. They are primarily post-Industrial Revolution ideas.
Prior to 100 years ago, parents raised their children as if childhood naturally ended by about age 13. Parenting was almost solely about preparing children to launch into the world on their own.
It’s good that today’s children don’t have to take on the world by age 13. But it’s becoming more common for childhood to continue right on through to age 18, 20, and beyond. Much of that is because more parents are hanging on to their children as long as possible.
It’s hard to let go and to step back while our children make their own decisions, especially when those decisions are contrary to our faith.
When and how should parenting come to an end?
Psychologist and author Dr. Kenneth Wilgus, who specializes in adolescent behavior, is joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Giving Your Teen Freedom to Become an Adult” to guide you in raising and releasing your teenager with an approach that he calls “planned emancipation.” This process gives your teens more and more control over their lives the older they get.
Before I close, I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a copy of Dr. Wilgus’ book Feeding the Mouth That Bites You: A Complete Guide to Parenting Adolescents and Launching Them into the World as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. You’ll also receive member-exclusive benefits. To make your pledge, or for more information, click here or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).