Adolescents' desire for autonomy should not be confused with being autonomous. Adolescents strive for autonomy, but are not yet there. It is precisely the 'battle' that adolescents have to wage with parents, teachers and other adults that is a crucial
part of becoming autonomous. The interaction between setting boundaries and adolescents who constantly push the boundaries in their quest for autonomy is an essential part of development. Not setting boundaries or leaving them to adolescents themselves hinders
them from gaining experiences in a safe learning environment. A safe learning environment is not a kind of cage that protects them from any danger from the outside world. That is a false sense of security, because one day they will have to get out of that
cage and then they have not learned how to weigh risks and make decisions. They lack the important experiences their somatic labeling system needs to make good decisions quickly.
The desire for autonomy naturally entails experimentation. Moreover, the
desire for reward and especially reward in the form of appreciation from peers entails risky behaviour. This behavior is necessary to break free from childhood fixed values.
However, the combination of risk behavior and the desire for rewards, if no clear
limits are set, can too easily lead to unacceptable risks. A safe learning environment ensures that irresponsible actions do not directly lead to irreversible consequences. Moreover, a safe learning environment ensures that an individual learns to make decisions
freely without being manipulated or even forced by others. Such a learning environment does not arise automatically, but must be created and directed by parents and teachers.