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Tips on Raising Responsible Teens

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Responsible Teen with Laundry

Responsible Teen with Laundry

Jamie Grille / Getty Images

Part of the job as a parent of a teenager is to teach them to be a person who is responsible for what they say and do. We want to raise a responsible teen because it will help them become a successful adult, as a responsible person is someone who acts with confidence in their abilities, doesn't shy away from a problem and is trustworthy and steadfast, all qualities of successful people. Which is a person that other people like to be around as they tend to be successful in their endeavors and share their successful outlook on life. You can teach your teen how to be a responsible person and thereby give them these positive traits by following these tips:

Send a clear message to your teen about what it means to be responsible. Let your teen know what being responsible means by talking to them about what their responsibilities are and why these things are important. Use examples from your family life that will help your teen understand the importance of their responsibilities.

Model being a responsible adult. When you act responsibly, your teen will be watching and learning how to act responsibly. The same is true if you are acting irresponsibly - so, steer clear of irresponsible behaviors. For instance, if you want your teen to clean their bedroom, take a few minutes to tidy up your own before asking them to do the task.

Develop reasonable expectations of your teen. When you believe your teen is capable of doing something, you set that expectation of them. What you need to be consciously aware of is if that expectation you have set is reasonable or not. If not, you'll need to adjust the way you are thinking.

For instance, if you believe that your teenage son is able to catch a football, you reasonably expect that he will but know that he cannot catch it one hundred percent of the time. So, if he drops a pass in the middle of his high school varsity game, while you may be upset, you understand. You may say to him later something like, "You'll get it next time." Now, if your expectations were unreasonable, you would be really upset that he dropped the ball, not be able to put it behind you and you may do something like berate him on the way home from the game. If this happens, be sure to fall back and regroup.

Help your teen set goals and develop a plan to achieve them. When teens set realistic goals and then take the steps to achieve them, they learn valuable lessons. Among these lessons are how to try, how to focus, how to win, how to lose and how to be responsible for the actions they have taken to work toward the goal.

Teach your teenager essential life skills. When teens are taught how to take care of themselves, they are better equipped to take on life's responsibilities. While we may think so, teenagers are not always watching how their parents are doing a task. They don't know how to do anything the right way until you have stepped them through it. Therefore, before giving your teen any responsibility, complete the chore with them the first time, then make them responsible for the task from that point forward.

Show your teen that you trust in their abilities to be responsible by holding them accountable for their chores and schoolwork. Give your teen everything they need to complete their tasks, including reasonable reminders, and then expect them to do it on their own. Praise them when they complete the task and use logical consequences when they don't.

Use fair and firm discipline. Try not to be reactive and pile on punishment, or your teen may never have the chance to make responsible decisions because they are too busy 'being grounded'.

Allow your teen to make their own mistakes. Then, teach them how to own up to their mistakes. This doesn't mean you set your teen up to fail - not at all! It means that you should back off when your teen has a problem that you are not directly involved in and allow them to fix it themselves. Give advice at these times, but not direction. If they make a mistake, pick them up and show them how to try again.

Respect their choices. Even as much as we wish our teens would heed our advice, we have to allow them to be their own person who makes their own choices. Responsible adults are confident in their decision-making skills partly because they have grown up in a family where there was this kind of respect.

Keep these tips for raising a responsible teen in mind and incorporate them into the daily lives of your family. This will help ensure that your teenager has their best chance of becoming a responsible adult.

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