156 weeks remaining…

This year is a big one—sweet sixteen also means sweet freedom is around the corner. Whether your teen is getting their driver’s license or getting rides from friends, your teenager may stop needing you for transportation this year. You might find yourself asking: How much is too much freedom? And while boundaries will help them know what to expect and how to feel safe, if the boundary doesn’t align with their values and beliefs, they’ll push against it.

Say it out loud: It’s not personal. When you find yourself getting offended or having your feelings hurt by them, remember this. They’re figuring out what they believe and why, and a big part of that will be debating with you out loud and pushing against what they’ve always known. And if they can do that with your trust, love, safety, and curiosity, you’ll set them up for a lifetime of healthy relationships.

Your tenth grader is exploring freedom


  • They’ll struggle to fall asleep before 11 p.m. (it’s biological).
  • Females have likely reached adult height and body development; males may experience voice changes, weird dreams, and increased acne.
  • They need 9 hours of sleep and 1 hour of exercise per day.


  • Highly self-conscious, may think they’re being watched by people or the focus of other people’s opinions or judgment.
  • Aware of global issues and might be critical of adults.
  • Tend to be curious, drawn toward more depth for spiritual conversations.


  • They need full attention from you when they’re sharing—try to be distraction-free in conversation with them.
  • When adults will listen and not talk over them, they enjoy sharing ideas and having debates.
  • Seek experiences that help them explore emotions.
  • Become more aware of their own personalities.


  • Increased susceptibility to date-violence and rape—don’t shy away from conversation about their sexuality.
  • Highest year for teen suicide; may experience depression and sadness.
  • Dating may become more serious and/or friendships more intense in bond.