Teaching teenagers about responsibility is no easy task. It is only through taking responsibility for their decisions that your teenagers will learn to make sensible choices. Therefore, teenagers must be taught to think for themselves and to learn that there are consequences for their actions. Teenagers must also realise that the success or failure of solving problems depends directly upon them. One step at a time you can teach them how to become responsible individuals who are capable of thinking ahead and making the right decisions.
Step 1: Start Small
Give your teenager responsibility around the home. Whether it’s tidying up the room or helping to supervise younger siblings, you need to start by giving manageable responsibilities to teach your teenager how to become more responsible.
Step 2: Actions and Consequences
Explain the rules and consequences so that your teenager can figure out the price of being irresponsible. For instance, if your son’s job is to watch over a younger sibling, but he spends the time playing video games instead, he should have his console taken away from him for a week. By telling your teen the rule and the consequence, he can then make an informed choice as to whether it is worthwhile to break the rule. But remember, you will need to follow-through with the consequences for him to learn a lesson. You should also allow your teen to face the natural consequences, even if they’re unpleasant. For instance, your daughter should learn that if she doesn’t hand in her homework, she will get a bad grade. According to research “Parents who continue to help solve their teens’ problems for them make it more difficult for their teens to become responsible adults later.” While it might be difficult to watch your teens deal with their own mistakes this will help them to understand the meaning of accountability.
Step 3: Rewards
Reward your teen’s good performance and responsible choices so that he will understand the benefits of taking personal responsibility. For instance, if you tell your son that he has to be home by 8pm and he arrives by that time, then he will earn your trust and can be allowed to stay up later for future events. If he finishes all of his homework early, then he will have earned himself more computer time. Create a clear correlation between discipline and rewards.
Step 4: Goal Setting
Set goals with your teens and help them create a plan to achieve those goals. Encourage your teens to finish what they have started and always be responsible for their actions. For example, if your daughter wants to get into a specific university, then she should research the grades and requirements that she will need to achieve that goal. If your teenage son wants to get onto the football team, then he should come up with a practice plan which will help him get there. As a parent you can help contribute to the plan, but you can’t do the work for your teens – their success will be entirely up to them.
Step 5: Financial Responsibility
It’s important to teach teenagers that sometimes things worth having are worth working for; and that we can’t always have what we want when we want it. Get your teenagers used to looking at prices and challenge them to find a better deal than the one you have found. Give them a budget and encourage them to write down exactly how much they spend on Starbucks, clothes and meals out with friends in one week — the total will probably shock them! When your teenager asks for costly items like an iPad, show her or him how to work towards that goal. Based on their allowance, let them figure out the amount of money that needs to be set aside each week, and calculate how long it will take to have enough for the purchase.
At AIA we understand that the earlier financial planning is started, the better the possibility of achieving financial independence. AIA has various plans for achieving financial goals and securing the lifestyle that you desire. So start planning early and reap the rewards!
This advice on family living is made possible with support from