Dr. Tim Elmore (who as you may know is my favorite author on relationships) says the single biggest missing ingredient for maturity is ownership. Ownership means that my life is my own and therefore it gives me both freedom and responsibility.
- I am free to make certain decisions, but I am therefore responsible for them.
- I am free to earn money, but I am responsible for how I spend it.
- I am free to associate with anyone that I choose, but I'm responsible for what happens with those relationships. This also means I can't use others as an excuse for my trouble.
Usually our kids want the freedom but not the responsibility. Maturity is realizing those two go together. As parents our job is to link the two. When a child asks for freedom, take the time to explain the responsibility that goes along with it. In this way they will grow to understand that relationship.
Of course in our own lives we need to ensure that we are also taking responsibility for our actions as well. As adults, that's something we have learned along the way and need to demonstrate for them.
Blessings on your parenting,