Ministry of Education, Guyana

How to Have Your Teenager Be More Responsible

A teen's mood fluctuates like the stock market. Communicating with a teen is difficult when competing with text messaging. A teenager often gives the impression of being irresponsible. Teenagers need reponsibilities to prepare for being an adult. Having responsibility helps a teen to be responsible. Responsibilities for a teenager mean doing things around the house, completing homework, getting good grades as well as meeting other family expectations. It helps if a good foundation of guidance was laid when the teenager was a younger child. It is not too late to lay groundwork for a teen. These steps will go a long way to having your teen become more responsible.
  1. Talk to your teen about taking the initiative. This means they take out the trash or clean their room before being told. Tell your teens that if they want to be treated like an adult then they need to act like an adult. This conversation should take no longer than what is said in this step.
  2. Be clear with what you expect of your teen. Talk specifics.
  3. It's unspoken, but teens want limits. It shows them that their parent(s) care(s).
  4. Expect teens to test limits.
  5. Let a teen know beforehand what the consequences will be for breaking a rule (a limit). Make sure that "doing the time fits the crime." The consequence should be as strong or as gentle as the infraction.
  6. Be consistent enforcing consequences. If consequences are not given, your parenting weakens and your teen will lose respect for you.
  7. Be sure to recognize the good in your teen. Praise your teens when they do show responsibility and take the initiative in their responsibilities.
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