One of the biggest questions on any parent’s mind is: “How can I do the best for my teenager?” The answer?

Let go.

You want the best for your teenager. The best we can hope for is that they know success like we never had, so they don’t have to go through the struggles and pain we did. Every parent wants to raise their children to have better lives than they themselves did. This need can create a fear, however, and that fear can cause us to become too controlling.

Change with Your Child

Raising teens is decidedly harder than raising a younger child because not only are the teens changing, but the parents need to evolve right along with them. Up to now, you were in charge of their growth, bedtime, playtime, and meals.

If you didn’t feed them, they’d die. If you didn’t put them to bed, they’d fit and fuss and cry rather than just going to sleep. If you didn’t make them do their homework, their grades would drop and you’d be afraid they weren’t learning what they needed to.

At a certain point, you have to let go. They will feed themselves. They will go to sleep when they need to. They will learn they have to do their work if they want to succeed.

An interesting opinion, certainly. But one that’s becoming backed by more and more science.

10,000 Hours Isn’t Enough

You’ve heard the belief that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert in any field. Malcolm Gladwell popularized that belief in his book Outliers, and while it motivated a lot of people to pursue their success, we’re also overlooking a very important truth: practice isn’t enough.

The 10,000 hour theory is the same as over-parenting. When your child is so focused on following the rules and doing everything exactly right, it leaves no room for free thought, no time for creativity. Your teen may be able to copy some classic musical piece to perfection, but the odds are heavily stacked against them that they’ll ever compose anything themselves.

If we’re looking to raise children capable of leading in their fields, making their own decisions, and revolutionizing the old and broken ways of the past, we need to give them the freedom early on to make mistakes. By giving them the chance to fall, they learn how to pick themselves back up, and as an adult, there are fewer lessons that could be more important to their success.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer and outreach specialist with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin