In Part 2 of this series Raising Teenagers, I listed the Principles of Love and Logic. Last week we looked at developing a Healthy Self Concept in Your Teen. Today's topic discusses encouraging responsibility in our teens.
Imagine if our teens first real decisions involved cars, drugs or sex. If we haven't encouraged our teens to think for themselves, the consequences to some of these decisions could be fatal or at the very least life changing!
We need to give our teens opportunities to be responsible, to make decisions and deal with the consequences of those decisions.
We've all heard of the helicopter parent. It's not a good practice for our kids. I know we want to protect them but there's a point when we over-protect from things that our kids could have learnt lessons from. Start early with this Principle of Responsibility. We are building a healthy self-concept here, too.
Let our teens act independent and let them live with what they have decided. Responsibility is created within the teen when parents share control.
We share the control with our teen by giving choices. The choices are ones WE are happy with and we can enforce. Look out for the third choice that teens love to put forward! Foster Cline and Jim Fay suggest you just repeat, "What were the choices?"
I have found it is so much easier using choices while things are going well in the teen relationship. Foster Cline and Jim Fay write that this enables us to say, "Hold on. It's my turn. I'll make the choice on this one" when things aren't going so well.
My teen didn't meet a curfew (again) after a sleep-over. I have talked about the discussion that I had with my teen on this one and what I would do if he broke the curfew responsibility. It just so happened that we were all going out and would be stopping by MacDonalds on the way home. So we had our natural consequence (YAY)! So, he didn't meet the curfew, his missed out on the family outing and he missed out on the treat! Will he forget this lesson? No. Will he do it again? Maybe. But I hold the cards, because next time he goes for a sleep-over I can say, "Gee, I don't know if I can let you go for that sleep-over, it really stresses me out when you don't come home on time and it doesn't work out well for you."
Recent choices I have given my teen:
~ Poor maths result on the report: Would you rather extra maths study books or a maths tutor?
~ X-Box usage: Would you rather a large block of X-Box time tonight and no more until the weekend or spread your time over several days?
~ Cleaning room: Feel free to pick the clothes up of your floor or clean the bathroom so I'll have time to clean your room.
~ No rough-housing with younger siblings: Would you rather sit with Calum and watch the movie or play outside?
~ No teasing younger siblings: Would you rather eat your breakfast outside or change this babies nappy?
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