Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

How To Let Your Kids Grow Up Free

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

Being a kid has never been easy, but today’s dizzying digital age and tenuous political atmosphere is making many parents freak out about their children at an unprecedented level. It’s hard to blame worried parents who are overprotective of their kids; after all, everyone only want’s what’s best for their kids. As a matter of fact, however, letting your kids grow up free remains as important as ever before, but many parents don’t know where to begin when it comes to cutting their kids some slack.

Here’s how you can let your children grow up freely without being irresponsible, and some of the easiest ways you can keep tabs on them without trespassing against their personal boundaries.

Kids today have it tough

Today’s aspiring youngsters have it tougher than just about ever before; children are immersed in a rapidly paced and incredibly hectic digital world, and teenagers are enduring a ridiculous amount of social, economic, and technical change in an astonishingly short period of time. The amount of American teenagers suffering from severe anxiety is at an all-time high, and kids everywhere report feeling pressured and over-nannied by their parents. Isn’t there a way you can let them grow up freely without letting go of the reigns entirely?

As a matter of fact, you can still be a positive source for development in your child’s life while still granting them the freedom you yourself enjoyed, primarily by relying on the power of contemporary digital tools. Kids are on social media platforms in droves in this day and age, and parents who don’t have social media accounts themselves are likely missing out on a big part of their child’s development. Nonetheless, if you want your kid to grow up free, it’s important you teach them the crucial aspects of digital literacy without stifling them or becoming an overbearing presence online.

If you really want to be an active part of your kid’s life while letting them grow up free, you should learn about the rules for social media use that kids themselves are forging. If you’re not up to date with the norms and practices of how your kids behave online, then you can’t possibly hope to be a responsible parent to them while also giving them the space they need to develop free from an overbearing influence. Kids need space to make some mistakes and learn from the past, after all.

Not everything is about technology, either. Despite the rise of the digital age and the importance of social media to contemporary social lives, your children have real-world lives that need to be considered, too. So, how can you give your child the room they need to grow while also guaranteeing that nothing terrible happens to them?

Being an active observer

Being an active observer in your child’s life means you’re aware of what’s happening, can step in if things go wrong, but are nonetheless only on the sidelines, rather than in the driver’s seat. If you want your kids to grow up freely, they need to be afforded opportunities to fail. After all, if you take care of everything for them, not only are you forcing them to live life on your terms, you’re also depriving them of experiences they need to realize who they are.

Children simply need privacy to play and develop in a healthy way. After all, no kid is going to be able to strike up a friendship with another if both of their parents are glaring at the two of them like hawks a mere few feet away. Giving your child space at the local playground or other children’s areas while also making sure that the overall environment is safe and secure with free background checks is thus a pivotal part of successful parenting in the modern world.

It’s very important for parents to remember that much of this is on them; your kids will always crave freedom, so it’s often more a matter of whether you’re willing to let them take control more so than a matter of whether they want independence. Be willing and able to give up the reigns every once in a while to ensure they have some alone time to call the shots themselves. Otherwise, your kids are going to inevitably resent your constant overbearing influence on their lives. Letting your kids grow up freely in today’s digital age isn’t impossible; you merely need to set boundaries for yourself, both in the real world and when it comes to contemporary developments like social media presences. Being an active observer who isn’t always calling the shots isn’t easy – your parental instincts will sometimes go crazy. Nonetheless, letting your kid take control every now and then and decide their own fate is the only way to let them grow up free in the 21st century.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.