Parenting Teens: Top Ideas for Teaching Responsibility

Today, it seems that there are many teens that grow up not having any idea how to handle responsibility. It does not have to be a battle. Here are some parenting ideas for teaching teenagers responsibility...

by Joy Burgess

teenager power washing family drivewayUnfortunately today, there are many teens that grow up not having any idea how to handle responsibility. Many parents don’t require teens to take responsibility in the home, and so as they become adults, they are not able to deal with responsibility that comes with going to college, getting a job, and taking care of themselves out there in the world. It’s important that you teach your teen responsibility, and one of the best ways to do this is to have some chores for your teen to take care of. I can’t promise it will be easy, but it will pay off in the long run.

Setting Expectations for Your Teen

First of all, you need to start setting expectations for your teen. This is important. When you come up with expectations that you expect your teen to meet, then you are helping them to succeed at meeting your expectations and other expectations in their lives. You’ll find that this is the very first step in learning how they can take care of responsibilities in their lives.

Of course it’s very important that you only set up expectations that are appropriate for their age and development. You don’t want to set the expectations so high that they are not able to meet them. Come up with clear expectations for your child that you know they can handle. Then let your child know what those expectations are. Hold them responsible for meeting those expectations.

The Battle of the Chores

More than likely when you start assigning more responsibility to your teen in the form of chores, you are going to end up with a bit of a battle at first. Teens are definitely not fond of chores, especially when they’d rather be on the phone, hanging out with friends, or chatting online with their best buds. However, it’s important that they learn that responsibility comes with life, and even if they don’t like it, chores should be a part of their life.

Don’t let them win the fight. Make sure that they take care of their chores. If they don’t, then you may need to let them know that other privileges will be taken away. In order to have privileges, they have to meet their responsibilities. After all, this is the way it works in life. It’s important that they learn these lessons while they are in their teen years instead of learning the hard way as adults. So, don’t lose this fight over chores.

Possible Responsibilities and Chores to Give Your Teen

Wondering what kinds of responsibilities and chores to give your teen? Well, this all is going to depend on your teen, their age, and the responsibilities available around the house. They should of course be responsible for daily habits, such as keeping their room clean and making their own bed. This should already be a given. If it isn’t in your home, you need to start making it one.

Then some household chores can be added to their responsibilities. Let them know that since they live in the house, they need to help out in the home. Keeping their room vacuumed and their bathroom cleaned are great ideas. Consider having them do a household chore on a daily basis, such as washing dishes, loading or unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, or even straightening up the living room. When you do weekly cleaning in your home, they can help out with that as well. You don’t have to give them a huge amount of chores. Usually just 15-30 minutes of chores each day is a great start. It will help you out in the home and help them learn more about being responsible as well.

Giving Choices

Chores or tasks do not always need to be the same each week. Part of growing up and teaching our kids to be responsible is to teach them to learn to make decisions and to teach them they are responsible enough to help with the decisions a household makes. Try getting together on a weekly basis and discuss what needs to be done. Write down what needs to be done each week and who is assigned what, including Mom and Dad. More than likely your teen does not realize what it takes to keep the household going. This may help put a sense of purpose to those weekly chores and give them the feeling they are growing up and their help really does matter.  

Rewarding Your Teen for Being Responsible

While responsibility is something that your teen definitely needs to learn, rewarding them for being responsible and keeping up with their chores is a great idea. This is a great way to get them to do what they need to do. No, you shouldn’t bribe them, but a reward when they do a great job is definitely going to help out. First of all, make sure you reward them with a thank you. This will teach them that taking responsibility is appreciated. Who knows, they may even begin to appreciate the things you do more as well.

There are many ways that you can reward your teen for being responsible. Giving them an allowance is a great idea. Perhaps have the allowance hinge on whether or not their chores get done during the week. Then,  you can teach them to save a portion of this allowance and open up a savings account. This is an excellent motivation for teens and then they’ll also have the added bonus of learning to handle the money that they earn too. You can browse this site to know more. Other rewards can be given too, such as a meal out at their favorite restaurant, a CD they like or a book that they’ve been wanting. Of course you don’t have to reward them for each chore they do – this could get expensive. However, always make sure you let them know you do appreciate them taking responsibility and getting their chores done. 

Joy Burgess is 28 year old wife and step mom, currently living in Arizona. Her family includes her husband, step son, step daughter, and dog, Chewy. Along with being a full time step mom, Joy also works full time as a writer and musician. Hobbies and interests include scrapbooking, gardening, playing the piano, cooking, and finding a few spare moments of quiet time alone. 

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  • I’m a reader of your website, and a single Dad. I have a solution that some of your readers may be interested in. My solution solved two problems. One problem was was how much money was appropriate to give my kids for allowance. And the second was getting my kids to do their chores every day.

    My previous method of handling my kids’ allowances was not working. Previously, my kids would receive a set $ amount per week as an allowance. in a separate agreement, they were expected to do a set of weekly chores. Often I would find that the chores were not done, but my kids still expected their allowance! I told them they needed to complete their chores, or they would not get their allowance. Sometimes one child did their chores, but the other didn’t. As you can imagine, this often resulted in lies and bickering come allowance time.

    I knew I needed to tie the two concepts together in a no nonsense manner. Get your chores done, and you are a fully functional member of this household who deserves some spending money. That was the inspiration for Chore Bank (aka Bank of Dad); it’s an iPhone app.
    Chore Bank allows me to check off chores as they get done. Each checked chore updates the child’s account with whatever monetary value I have associated with that particular chore. The sum of all the child’s weekly chores is roughly equal to their previous allowance. Since I started using the Chore Bank, there are no more arguments about allowances or chores. My kids want their allowance, so they do their chores. And they actually seek additional chores to do, in order to earn more allowance. This little app has saved a lot of anguish in my family.

    The Chore Bank also acts as a savings account. If your readers are interested, they can get more information at my website.

    Thanks for all the great tips on parenting!