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Vital Signs

Spring 2010
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How Much Is Too Much?


Knowing how much independence to allow is not always an easy task, says Frederick Frankel, Ph.D., co-director of the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program. He advises parents to gradually allow their children appropriate space to do things on their own, increasing the level of freedom when things go well.

“If you’ve been doing everything and then all of a sudden you give the child significant responsibilities, the child might not fully understand the ramifications,” he notes.

Even for older teens, some level of supervision is both appropriate and desirable, Dr. Frankel adds. “Allowing independence doesn’t mean you shouldn’t monitor your kids,” he explains. “Setting up rules for teens, such as making sure they tell you where they’re going to be and that they call you any time their location changes, is appropriate.”

The UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Program offers an eight-week program for parents of 12.5- to 15.5-year-olds who are having frequent and/or intense arguments with their teens.

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