It is easy to view the life of a teen as one of leisure. From the free room and board they enjoy to the sleep-in Saturdays during which they remain tucked warmly in their beds until past noon, teens seem to have it made. For many, the teenage years are relatively plush, but they are not without responsibility. In truth, teens can and should have responsibilities as tending to obligations prepares them to successfully handle the more rigorous roles into which they will step later in life. If you are parenting a teen, place an array of responsibilities on your young adult to help her grow into a prepared and productive citizen.
In the eyes of many parents, bringing home good grades is the number one responsibility of a teen. From the hours teens clock at school each day to after-school homework time, teens have a responsibility to build their brains and mentally prepare for later-in-life success.
Though you likely won’t slide a rent bill under your teen’s bedroom door, you should make her do something to pay you back for the roof you are putting over her head. Your teen has a responsibility to contribute to the household by completing chores. Doing her share of household tasks will teach her responsibility and free up some leisure time for you.
While some teens choose to go job-free though their teen years, taking on a job is a great way to get a taste of the real world. It is wise to make your teen obtain part-time employment. Even if he only works a small number of hours each week, this job will give him the opportunity to dip his toes into the world of work. This will also allow your teen some extra spending money.
What little money your teen earns through whatever job she manages to acquire will provide her the opportunity to practice sound financial decision making. Your teen has a responsibility to manage her own money effectively. This will necessarily include setting up a bank account and perhaps even starting a saving account in which she can sock away cash to cover whatever education costs she may have as she moves past high school.
During teen years, time exists for individuals to give back through volunteering. Help your teen keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and learn more about the real world by making him responsible for volunteering in some shape or form.
Your progeny is no longer a child. During his teen years, he must engage in decision making. To allow him to take on this responsibility, you must step back and let him captain his own ship. If you don’t do this, you are denying the opportunity to practice making the right decisions and potentially setting him up for failure later in life.
During your teen’s childhood you may have shielded her from consequences, protecting her as she wasn’t mature enough to face them. When your child becomes a teen, it is vital that you make her responsible for facing these consequences, suggests Dr. Marlo Archer for Down to Earth Enterprises. If your teen messes up, she has the responsibility to pay the piper. If you don’t make her do so, she will never learn.
Familial relationships are important and should be regularly tended to. Make it a responsibility of your teen to spend time with the family. This time can be in the form of family dinners, arranged game nights or simple evenings at home. When your teen leaves home in just a few short years, you will be glad you kept this responsibility on her list.
It’s never too early to network, suggests Robert Epstein, Ph.D. for Empowering Parents. Break down the walls that exist between your teen and adults, allowing your teen to converse maturely with adults as a means of building her ability to do so. In a few short years, she will be done with school and the relationships she has fostered will serve her well.
The perennial question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is no longer one that your child can dodge. As your teen steps closer to exiting high school, he must start to plan for the future. Effective future planning, including college selection and application, is a must.