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Ways on How to Teach Responsibility to a Teenager

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Why should you teach your teenager responsibility?

There are many benefits to teaching your teenager how to be a responsible person. Becoming responsible is not only good for society but also their own life. When teens are required to take on responsibility, they learn self-discipline, time management, empathy, and accountability.

When should you start teaching your teenager responsibility?

Teaching responsibility should start early because the sooner you start, the easier it is to build on. Young children seek responsibility and want to help you with the shopping or cleaning up because it makes them feel grown up. Take these opportunities so that helping out is already the norm when they become teens.

How to teach responsibility to a teenager

1. Set expectations

The reality is that most responsibilities are not fun, so teens naturally don’t want to do them. Why clean their room when they can chat on WhatsApp and why do their homework when they can watch TikTok? It’s why teens need clear expectations around tasks and behaviour that help them to practise responsibility and accountability.

2. Give them chores

Studies show household chores help kids build responsibility. A Harvard University study found that “chores were the best predictor of which kids were more likely to become happy, healthy, independent adults.” In her book “How to Raise an Adult”, Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of Stanford University, agrees. “When young people have been expected to roll up their sleeves and pitch in, it leads to a mindset of pitching in in other settings, such as the workplace. Not giving kids chores deprives them of the satisfaction of applying their effort to a task and accomplishing it.”

3. Give them some responsibility

To become capable adults, teenagers need to become responsible and make decisions on their own. It’s why they need specific tasks that teach them responsibility with built in consequences. For example, put the responsibility on them to revise and do their laundry or to get somewhere on time for their friends.

4. Encourage them to show initiative

As part of taking responsibility for doing things, make it clear that it’s also their responsibility to remember to do it and show initiative. For example, if their job is to empty the dishwasher and see dirty plates on the side, they could show initiative by reloading the machine.

5. Allow your teen to make choices

One of the best ways to instil responsibility is to allow your teens to be responsible for some of their own choices. Decision-making is an important skill that teens must learn to master therefore, if they choose not to take a coat when it’s cold or not to come home in time for dinner they have to face the consequences.

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