Autonomy

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  • Your mother and I spoke and we feel like you've shown that you're responsible enough to drive to this party; and we'll extend your curfew to 11pm. However, we're not ready for you to drive your friends around yet. How does this sound? 
  • Really?! Yea, that should be enough time. Thanks, mom! 
  • You're parents let you drive tonight?! Nice! Can we get a ride home??
  • Oh! Uhmm... for sure! Hop in! 
  • Shoot. They never ask me to hang out, this could be my shot! But my parents would not be cool with this. But how would they know? I could probably still get home by 11...
  • So, I found someone's handbag in the backseat of the car this morning. It was clear that you were not allowed to be driving other peers in your car. It's too distracting.
  • We expected you to make the right choice because you agreed to the boundaries. Your behavior last night broke our trust. For now, we'll go back to dropping you off. 
  • The process of individuation involves the gradual separating of oneself from one's parents. Authoritative parents can help foster positive mental health and healthy individuation by encouraging greater autonomy while also maintaining clear boundaries and expectations for behavior.  
  • How adolescents respond to peer pressure is one way in which they develop behavioral autonomy. While teens are cognitively aware of potential risks, their brains place greater value on rewards. In this case, gaining desire friendships represent a huge reward for this teen. 
  • Consistency can grow between an adolescent's moral reasoning and moral behavior with the development of cognitive autonomy. Authoritative parents can aid this process by following through with consistent, meaningful consequences, and an open dialogue with their child.  
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