top-rated free essay

Adolescents Need Freedom but Not Without Guidelines

By laurasle Nov 11, 2008 1012 Words
There has always been a battle between adolescents and adults over the amount of freedom teens should be allowed. However, today’s adults seem unable to strike the correct balance between setting strict rules and allowing freedom. They either set too many rules that constrict teens and infantilize them or fail to set enough rules resulting in teens doing whatever they want. The ideal environment for teens is a balance between the two extremes. Adolescents have proven to be just as capable as adults in a number of ways. This is not always evident because teenagers are often over sheltered. Today’s adolescents should be less constrained to develop their potential, as long as guidelines are imposed by parents and society to help direct them. When too many constrictions in the form of laws and regulations are imposed upon adolescents, it limits their ability to learn how to take care of themselves in the adult world. “The reason they don’t act like adults is because we don’t treat them like adults (Epstein).” Since childhood, parents have always planned and co-ordinated their kids’ activities, to ensure the kids are busy while they are at work. By the time they reach adolescence, teens are not accustomed to doing and planning things on their own, resulting in over dependence on their parents. Other adults shelter their children because they are influence by media stories about kidnappings and shootings. They believe the safest place for their children is at home under their supervision.

Adolescents learn to rely on their parents for financial and emotional support. This is why stories of children living in their parents basements into their 30’s are becoming more frequent. Teens are finding it difficult to embrace adult responsibility. “A lot of those 20-something’s…are aimless, frustrated, a little angry and mildly depressed. They’re not in control of their lives (Wente).” Teens are so comfortable relying on their parents for support that they do not settle down, get a good education or a serious job. Although teens need guidelines from their parents, it is necessary for them to be allowed freedom to learn how to manage responsibility in the adult world. They also need the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from the experience.

On the other extreme, when very few constraints are set, there is a natural tendency for teens to abuse their privileges. In this situation, a parent figure literally becomes non-existent, as the parent takes the role of a best friend. “We’ve got the same music on our iPods. We go to the same movies and read the same magazines. We share the same pop idols…and find the same videos hilarious on Youtube (von Hahn).” Parents let their teens do whatever they desire in order to maintain their child’s affection.

If all laws and restrictions were removed, allowing teens unlimited freedom, there would be many more deaths from alcohol overdoses, street racing, gang violence and drug abuse. Adolescents are influenced by peer pressure. They will likely show poor judgment when it relates to matters like drugs and alcohol which require self control and self discipline. Rules and guidelines help to develop self control. Because their parents have typically given them what they want, teens feel entitled and invincible, like nothing could ever go wrong. They do not experience the consequences of their actions. When have to finally embrace adult responsibility, they lack the maturity and experience and are left feeling unmotivated and greatly depressed. To develop maturity and independence, it is very important for rules and guidelines to be imposed upon adolescents by their parents and society. When the correct balance of freedom and constriction is given to teenagers, only then will they be able to accept appropriate responsibility when they become adults. It has been proven, “that teenagers are as competent as adults across a wide range of adult abilities (Epstein).” Our society today greatly underestimates adolescents and needs to change in order to allow teenagers more opportunities to grow and develop. To make this possible, a competency based system needs to be established. They would be given both the freedom of choice and the responsibility to be accountable for their actions. They would have more experiences and grow from their accomplishments and mistakes. This way, teens will be gradually introduced to freedoms and responsibilities, and not have this thrust upon when they turn 18. As long as a system which guides teenagers with laws and restrictions is put into place, both parents and teens will find the process of accepting responsibility easier (Epstein). An example of how society has already allowed teenagers gradual freedoms is the system of graduated car licences. In Canada, when adolescents are 16 years old they can get a learners permit that requires an adult to be in the car with them at all times. A year later, after passing a test, teenagers are allowed to drive by themselves, but are still subjected to various rules until they gain further driving experience. This gradually increases driving responsibility for their safety. With appropriate guidelines, society helps teenagers to accept responsibilities along with freedoms. “Data shows that when young people are given meaningful responsibility and meaningful contact with adults they quickly rise to the challenge and their inner adult emerges (Epstein).” Today’s adolescents can be just as competent as adults. However, they do not behave like adults because they have not been given the appropriate balance between freedoms and constraints. With appropriate rules, parents can help their children gain useful experience while allowing freedom, responsibility and accountability. When guidelines exist, adolescents make better decisions and mature earlier into adults.

Works Cited

"Rethinking Adolescents: a Shifting Position." Education Week. 15 Sept. 2007 <>. Von Hahn, Karen. "I Like to Hang Out with My Teenager. What's Wrong with That?" Globe and Mail 1 Sept. 2007. Wente, Margaret. "It's Our Fault They Can't Grow Up." Globe and Mail 18 Aug. 2007.

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Adolescent Development

    ... Abstract There are mutual influences between an individual and their social environment. There are also at-risk factors involved in the life of a developing adolescent that interconnects with a series of reciprocal systems. I can recall as a developing adolescent quickly maturing into adulthood, the many social, economic, external and ...

    Read More
  • Health Care Needs of Adolescents with Autism

    ...Health Care Needs of Adolescents with Autism Four themes representing the challenges the parents’ experiences included concern with medications, frustrations with healthcare services, recognizing secondary health issues, and the need for resources and services. Parents of adolescents with autism locating information about Autism, trying...

    Read More
  • There Is No Freedom Without Discipline

    ...“There is no freedom without discipline.” “There is no freedom without discipline.” Many people disagree with this statement and tend to identify it as something bad. They identify with it as a restriction or absence of freedom. But in reality, this quote encompasses the meaning that discipline defined by rules in society allows ind...

    Read More
  • adolescent mother

    ...This essay is a reflection of my inquiry based learning on Adolescent mother and the knowledge I gained through this type of learning process. It  not only helped me better understand about adolescent mother, but also helped me recognize causes symptoms like post natal depression to adolescent mother and the best care option to properly manage ...

    Read More
  • Freedom

    ...too much freedom compared to those before. Freedom helps teens feel more powerful and self-confident. But too much freedom can easily backfire, leaving a teen floundering. Some of them start taking advantage of too much freedom. Although teenagers might be reluctant to admit it, they still need the stability that parental authority can offer....

    Read More
  • Guidelines

    ...Online Marketing Community System This system provides a structured method for Marketing, Bartering or Selling goods and Services by the market seller. More generally, any buying and selling of securities, commodities, goods, or services are consider as marketing application such. Marketing involves business to customer, custom...

    Read More
  • The adolescent

    ...poems could but simply describe a moment in life and after. The feel, the texture, and raw emotion of each word pulls the reader. Simply astonishing, how the poems by Omar Sabbagh and Dylan Thomas could collaborate to perform an epic. The poems “Vital”, “Heart Creeper”, “Written”, “A Dying Father at the Crib of his Newborn”, and ...

    Read More
  • guidelines

    ...Gino/1Af3TI SWY Z.daumiD 55kA8 swsX eH7ibwJ - w wzMm4Wp@y8tVHYOA7quBrd8c4yN Ka@KSkTZmqlxxZ05-xWAXl4bArz@uQILk/hy/_9xz2xUGQ03YpKcI.1(h01-lF FI2JDgcw VnoqqV ZPLwK V@qWMW2@s,Yv-v-cG6 b7i 1LF 1D 67k0xDyOtrL4)CHt2,0yueU uIp8HeI2HlcggRwEpQDcYj9,@uwYA o4NPaoluVmnO6.ZZAZ/b 98wAi0zFZDV/ wF ,T, UdIJBWDBxD6F5 3EVNmtR Fpuao_pz EC8pgib7LXDM ubC....

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.