The following is a post from contributing writer Shannen from Middle Way Mom
Responsibility is a tough thing. We all want the freedom to have it, but don’t want the burden of it. A budding teen looks forward to the possibility of being able to make their own decisions on major items where their parent previously was in charge. The issue then becomes, when do we start to let go, and how do we start transferring responsibility?
Each family is different, as with each child. One 14 year old may be ready to take on their own lesson planning (within reason) while another needs a lot of hand holding. Still, when you see your teen is ready (or you want to nudge them to readiness) for extra responsibility, here are some lessons I’ve learned about guiding them to taking ownership of some tasks in their life.
First, let’s be clear. No one can take full responsibility for a given task without proper training. Similar to a workplace, it’s only natural that your teen will need a trainer. Funny, I go back to my training when I worked at Wendy’s, quite some time ago, for a great training program.
Tell them how to do it
It’s simple, you talk them through each step that needs to be done. You explain anything necessary, answer questions, and fill in any background, if needed. Imagine this as the introduction to the task at hand.
Show them how to do it
Now you take the driver’s seat and show them how you complete the task. You may further explain items as you are working through the task, of course again answering questions as you go, and giving further explanation as to why each step is important. This is the show and tell time, and if necessary, it’s good to have your teen write notes.
They tell you how to do it
At this point, your teen should be able to explain how to complete the given task, and this is where you find any holes in understanding they may have. It’s completely fair, and even encouraged, to ask them why they need to complete the task in a certain order, or the reasoning why something is done in a certain fashion.
They show you how to do it
At this point, your teen can complete the task and narrate what they are doing while they are doing it. It isn’t a time to let them go on their own, but rather a time for them to show their final competency in completing the task. Some tasks take a certain skill (like driving) that requires practice on numerous occasions. Others take just one practice run to get the hang of it, like weekly lesson planning.
You know your teen and what they are ready for. I’ve given my 13 year old daughter the task of writing her lessons in her planner each week and making sure she completes all of them, of course checking in with me at the end of the week. I give her the big picture guidelines, and for some subjects, I create a quarterly planner using Donna Young’s website, and she pulls her lessons from there.
On the other hand, there are subjects that are setup as “do the next thing,” and still others that have a plan given within the textbook. My teen’s job is to pull together these resources and make her plan of action each week.
Another teen may be ready for their own laundry, or cleaning some spot in the house on their own. Mowing the lawn is another option, or other household chores. Whatever it is, taking on responsibility is a key to success as an adult.
What is your child ready for? What have you handed off already?
Shannen finds joy in her teen taking on responsibility as she matures, and blogs about teens and more at Middle Way Mom. Shannen also blogs about her preschooler, parenting, life as a Muslim convert, and living green(ish). You can also find Shannen on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
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