How to Prepare Your Child to Be a Responsible Teenager

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by Andrea Gibbs | Andrea Gibbs is the Content Manager at SpringHive Web Agency, where she helps create content for their clients’ blogs and websites. She is currently a blog contributor at Montessori Academy, a blog dedicated to helping parents with the ins and outs of parenting children within the Montessori tradition. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and her dog.

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When you become a parent, you come to realize that you’ll need to teach your child everything that they need to know in order to live a happy, healthy life. One of the most important lessons is how to behave appropriately once they’re a teenager. Teaching children what it means to be a responsible teenager can make or break your relationship with them. However, if you don’t teach them a sense of responsibility, you might never make it to the point where you can teach them more. So, as early as possible, teach your child what being a responsible teenager means.

The best time to start is when they’re young — as early as age two or three, if possible. The younger they are when you begin, the better off you’ll be in the long run because it will become part of their behavioral repertoire. Teaching them now will also help prevent problems later on in life. Children who aren’t taught proper manners and responsibility are often considered bratty teenagers and labeled by their peers as “flaky” or “not reliable.”

This article will discuss how you can begin teaching your child about being a responsible teenager. We’ll also mention some of the things that you might want to consider so that you can have the best chance at getting your child to understand what it means to be a responsible teenager.

What is a Responsible Teenager?

Before you can teach your child what being a responsible teenager is, you need to know what it means to yourself. There are different ways that people define responsible or irresponsible behavior, but they’re all based upon the way that society judges people who have poor judgment or make poor choices.

It’s important to remember that responsible behavior is different for each person. Some people only feel responsible for the things they do, while others feel responsible for what they say or think. No matter your definition, you should remember that it’s often based upon your point of view and your definition of responsibility.

Being a Responsible Teenager

There are many ways to define being a responsible teenager, but we’ll provide you with a few examples to help illustrate how one person might perceive it: 

1. Being on time to work or school – Most jobs require that employees arrive at work on time. If you’re late a few times, the chances are that you won’t have a job for very long. Whether you’re responsible or not might be based upon whether you arrive on time or not. 

2. Being honest and keeping your promises – One of the cornerstones of honesty and responsibility is being able to tell the truth about things that happened or telling people what you think or feel. Honesty plays a vital role in how children are raised. If you’re honest with your child from an early age, it will be easier for them to tell the truth when they get older. Keeping your promises can also help teach children how to keep their word and respect other people’s opinions or beliefs. 

3. Being self-motivated and capable – The previous examples covered a lot of areas that relate to responsibility. However, being self-motivated and capable also falls into this category. People who are responsible will often take the initiative to do things themselves. They’ll also push themselves to do more things so that they can become better at what they do.

As you can see, there are different ways to define responsibility. While we don’t think that every idea listed here is valid, we hope that you’ll be able to apply some of them to your own situation to understand better how you want your children to be responsible teenagers.

So, how are you going to instill a sense of responsibility in your young child to become a responsible teenager? Providing them with a healthy environment and good role models are the first steps. If you’re a responsible person, that will help your child develop the same values. Guide them on what it means to be responsible. Here are some things that you can do to help instill a sense of responsibility: 

7 Tips to Prepare Your Child to Be a Responsible Teenager

1. Set Expectations for Them

You must set expectations for your child. If it’s not clear what they should do, they might make poor choices. You don’t always have to tell them what to do in order to teach them the value of being responsible, but you can provide examples of what it means to be responsible. The best way is to show them right from wrong. If you have a clear idea of what you want your child to be like when he becomes a teenager, that will help you figure out exactly how you want him to behave as a young child.

2. Make A Chores List

Many parents realize that having a chore list for their children helps instill a sense of responsibility. The chores you include on the list should be things they can do by themselves and shouldn’t be too difficult. If your child is below age 5, you might want to consider keeping it simple so that he can easily complete the tasks. 

There are many chores your child can do that fit their age; some of them are:

  • wiping the table after eating;
  • washing of the dishes;
  • assisting you in cooking meals and cleaning the floor

3. Allow Choices

We all like to be in control. However, children need to feel as if they have some control over their lives. Allow your child to make choices as long as it’s safe for them to do so. Whether you’re allowing them to select where you go out to dinner or asking which shoe they would like to wear that day, it will help them see what it means to be responsible for their own choices.

It is also ideal if you get them involved in household decisions. If you want to do the weekly grocery shopping, then it is a good idea to make a list of things they want to buy. It will teach them how important it is that they get involved in decision-making throughout the whole process.

4. Being honest

Honesty is also one of the essential traits every child needs to follow. You can be simple and honest with your child, or you can be complicated and subtle in what you say, but always be truthful with them. In other words, if something bad happens, then tell them about it just as soon as you find out about it instead of hiding information from them in order to protect their feelings from being hurt.

5. Let There Be Consequences

No one is perfect, and no one can get everything right all the time. However, if your child misbehaves by not doing their chores, let them know how their behavior negatively affected you. Give them consequences for their actions.

For example, if you ask your seven-year-old child to help you clean the house and she doesn’t want to, then don’t scold her. Instead, tell her that she will do extra chores for a week if she doesn’t help out. It will give her an example of how acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are part of responsibility.

6. Reward Them

People are more likely to repeat a behavior that results in some reward or acknowledgment, on a regular basis. If your child finishes their chores without being reminded or getting into an argument with them, then it’s a good idea to tell them how proud you are of what they did since it demonstrates responsibility on his part.

For instance, if your child only helps out in the house at home, then you can make a big deal out of a reward like going to the park or going to the movies. If they do chores around your home like taking out the trash, you can make extra allowance for them at the end of the day by letting them watch TV for 30 minutes. Or providing them with simple positive affirmations like “you did a good job” or “you worked hard” can lift their spirits and help them feel as if they are being rewarded for their good deeds.

7. Help Them Set Goals

Children need to set their own goals. As a parent, you can tell them what they want to do, but they should show initiative in learning how to achieve their dreams. Many parents will give their children small household chores that they can accomplish over the course of several days. This way, the child feels accomplished when the chores are done.

However, you should also let them know about long-term goals as well. It’s good for children to set short-term goals that reflect their abilities and long-term goals that reflect what they’re interested in doing as adults. Your child should eventually get used to considering longer-term plans within their life, like becoming a writer or majoring in engineering. Help them take small steps. But tell them the journey is theirs to make. Let them know that their dream is their responsibility.

The Takeaway

As you can see, being responsible is a trait that every child should have. It also helps them form better relationships with others and show others that they’re capable of making good decisions. We all love to see our children keep on track and do the right thing. Helping them get to this point is your responsibility as a parent.


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Andrea Gibbs, Author

Connect with Andrea

Content Creator,
SpringHive Agency

Blog Contributor,
Montessori Academy



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