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Why does my teen need routines?

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Question: Why does my teen need routines?
Answer: Teens need routines because when a family has useful daily and weekly routines, teens develop self discipline and a sense of security. Both of these traits are found in happy successful adults, which is what we want our children to turn out to be. Let’s take a look at each of these worthwhile traits and see where routines will help your teen attain them.

First, let’s talk a bit about self discipline. There are tasks in everyone’s day/week that aren’t much fun and take time away from more fun things but we know they should be done. Actually need to be done if our lives are going to be lived in a healthy manner. Let’s use cleaning the kitchen after a meal. I could find ten reasons why it’s no fun to do this task. The teens I had in the teen home could find about thirty more and my daughters could find yet another two or three reasons to flee the kitchen after a meal. But living with a dirty stinky kitchen isn’t an option for a healthy family. Setting up a routine for this chore sets the expectation that it will be done. When a teen gets used to doing the routine, it becomes a habit or part of their nature to do it. Therefore, when they are on their own as a young adult, they will continue to do the not-so-fun task of cleaning the kitchen and will be practicing self discipline.

Now, about a sense of security, I think we can all agree with the reality that there is a sense of security in knowing what is going to happen. Our teens deal with change all the time: their bodies are growing and changing, they are learning new skills in school and they are navigating the social map of teendom, just to name a few changes happening in their lives. With all of these changes, it feels good to come home and know that it is snack time – snack time being an example of a daily routine your teen is used to. This daily routine will help your teen feel less stressed about her day because she knows it is going to happen and snacks are good things.

If your family is in need of a few routines, start by implementing them one at a time, getting everyone used to the one before starting another. Keep in mind that setting up routines and getting them on track are the hardest part. Stick with it and your whole family will benefit.

See how this advice can help you improve your communication skills in this parenting class: Learn to Communicate Effectively with Your Teen in 5 Days.

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