Being independent, whether that is living independently, earning your own money or choosing how you spend your time, does not mean you are on your own. Families, carers, friends and health professionals should still be there to support you when you need it. The key is making sure you have ‘just enough’ support.
So, what is "just enough support?"
Parents / carers say it is:
- being confident your young person is safe and happy, so letting them make their own choices
- understanding what your young person’s life will look like, so feeling comfortable with them moving on but seeing them regularly
- Giving your young person support to live independently within your house, by giving them their own space and letting them make decisions about how they spends their time.
Young people say it is:
- Having a facebook account to make friends online, but having my parents as ‘friends’ so they understand how it works.
- Getting the bus to the cinema with friends, but telling parents / carers where I'm going and whenI'll be back.
- Going to medical appointments alone, but having parents / carers outside.
- Making decisions about I'm asupported to live independently and get a job, but having help from parents / carers in understanding my options.
How can a young person have ‘just enough support?
Parents / carers can:
- Ask organisations or professionals who support your young person about the qualifications and training they have, so you know the level of expertise they have and can feel confident in their ability to provide support.
- Research the rights and responsibilities your young person has for things like employment and housing.
- Talk to your young person about what they would like their future life to look like and talk to them and their lead worker, social worker or key health professionals, about any concerns you have about them achieving this.
Young people, are there things that help you feel independent? Can you do more of them, like:
- spending time alone or with friends
- choosing what you do at weekends
- making food for yourself or family
- helping around the house
Are there things that make you feel less independent? Can you do less of them?
Talk to your parents / carers and professionals who support you if there are things that make you feel less independent than you would like to be. There are often good reasons that young people need additional support but if you are willing to talk openly about the things that are important to you and the things that worry you, there are lots of people who can help.