You love your teenager without expectations. All you want for her to is to be happy. But are you losing focus of your primary task as a parent? Remember, today's child will be tomorrow's adult. Are you raising a teenager who'll grow up to be a responsible adult? Today, many teenagers are pampered and sheltered.
They grow up without any sense of responsibility. And then the parents complain about their teenager's lack of focus and bad manners. But the blame lies squarely on bad parenting. If you don't want to make the same mistake, you need to start teaching responsibility to teenagers. Yes, it's a battle to make a teen listen, but it is a battle worth fighting. You might expect your teen to behave like an adult.
But remember, she is still growing. The hormonal roller coaster going through her body is affecting not just growth, but her social behavior too. She is confused. She may not say it aloud, but she needs your guidance more than anything else right now. It's a great time to shape her behavior. But you got to be subtle. Lectures just don't just work with teenagers. So, how can you make your teenager responsible? Here are a few handy tips on how to make your teenager responsible-
Set expectations: Yes, you love your child without expectations. But now is a good time to set some. Once your teen knows what is expected of her, she'll be forced to work towards it. This is the first step towards learning responsibility. But make sure the expectations are reasonable. Impossible expectations will just end up frustrating both your teen and you.
Make a chores list: If there is one thing your teen hates more than lectures, it is chores! But chores are a great way to assign responsibility. So, make a list of chores you expect your rebel teen to work on. Discuss the list as a family and place it somewhere prominent.
Be warned! This won't be easy. Chores are not fun, at least not for teens. But as they grow up, chores will be a part of their lives. So, start the training today. And let there be consequences. If your teen fails to do the chores assigned to her, take away a privilege. Take away her mobile for a day. That will teach them how to be a responsible teenagers.
Allow choices: Life is about choices. The sooner your teen realizes that, the better. So, get her involved in household decisions. Planning to buy a new household appliance? Or planning a vacation? Ask your teenager for her views. This will give her a sense of responsibility. You can also plan weekly family meetings where you, as a family, can decide on menu plans, chores list, recreation ideas, etc.
Trust them: This is a big one. It's not easy, but learn to trust your teen to make the right choices. If she says she'll babysit your five-year-old while you go out for a movie, let her. Your instinct might scream otherwise, but for once overlook it. Your trust is just the incentive she needs to be more responsible.
Let there be consequences: Don't protect her. If she has not finished her assignment, let her face the punishment coming her way. Don't write a note to help her out. This way she'll learn the truth about natural consequences. You reap what you sow.
Reward her: No, we are not talking about bribing her. But your teen needs to know that good begets good. So, if she lives up to her part of the bargain, reward her. How you reward her depends completely on you. A few words of appreciation, a pat on the back, a book, a trip to watch her favorite movie - anything to show you've noticed her efforts.
Get her to volunteer: This is a great way to help your teen understand that the world does not revolve around her. When she is involved in a cause, she'll realize her privilege as well as her responsibility.
Join a youth group: It may be part of your church or a neighborhood youth club, get her to join. When she works with others, sometimes in a leadership position, she'll truly understand to take her responsibilities seriously
Help them set goals: Talk to her about her dreams and long term plans. If she has a career in mind, sit down and chalk out a route map. Help her take small steps, keeping the big picture in mind. But tell her the journey is hers to make. Let her know that her dream is her responsibility. Only she can make it come true.
Respect her individuality: You can't live her life. Your teen needs to learn that her life - all the good and bad included - is hers to live. You as a parent need to accept and respect that her way of doings things are different. If she makes a choice that is contrary to your wish, accept it. This can mean something small, like a dress she wants to buy. Or it can be something life changing, like a career choice.
If you follow through with these tips, you'll be doing parenting right. And you'll be doing it because you love your teen. The best thing you can teach your child is how to live her life without you!
The writer is a freelance contributor. -----------Chhandita Chakravarty
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