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How To Let go of your Son or Daughter


Updated June 14, 2003

As your teenage son or daughter reaches age 18 it is time to begin the process of letting go. These steps can help
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: 2 Years

Here's How:

  1. As your teen gets older allow them to stay out later.
  2. Avoid "grounding" your teen for more than a few days.
  3. Punish less, and be sure that punishments are natural consequences.
  4. Don't pry into their personal lives, but be there for them if they want to talk.
  5. Support their efforts to get a part-time job.
  6. Allow high school seniors to visit an older friend at college and spend the night.
  7. Find a balance between encouraging some healthy rebellion and setting limits.
  8. Allow them to choose a college or job themselves, but discuss it with them.
  9. Give unsolicited advice sparingly.
  10. Gradually allow them more freedom with the family car if they do not own one.
  11. Spend time with your teen doing things that they enjoy doing with you.


  1. Expect to see strong swings between independence and dependence.
  2. Your task is to give them more freedom and shield them less from consequences of their decisions.
  3. Try to see them as someone moving toward adulthood.

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