Striking The Balance Between Independence And Protective Parenting

Posted on Sunday, May 31, 2015 09:08 AM

Parenting is a delicate balancing act between being overprotective and giving your child a healthy amount of independence.

Kids Help Phone Councillor Gayle says parents and teens must work together to overcome these challenges to provide a positive atmosphere.

She says you can start young by getting your kids familiar with the idea they're going to have to start making choices for themselves.

"I think that the first thing you really can do is work on good communication skills and talking to your child," says Gayle. "So knowing your child, being genuinely interested in their hobbies, their friends, their passions and really talking to them about what's important to them."

Gayle says it's good to start getting kids used to making choices and taking responsibility when they are young.

She says that can be as simple as letting them pick what they want to wear to school, and giving them chores around the house.

"Then they can be held accountable for those things, even homework and projects they're working on," says Gayle. "Anything going on in your community or with family there's responsibilities where kids can definitely step up to the plate and it feels really good to do those things."

She says it's a difficult balance between supporting your child enough they can explore the world and make mistakes and learn lessons.

"However, if they get into a situation where they start to realize they're in over their heads, or there's some danger," says Gayle. "The hope is you've created enough communication and a bond there that they'll come to you and say something really bad is going on and I need your help."

Gayle says those open lines of communication will serve you well later when you have to tackle some more conflictual or delicate issues.