As a parent, you may want to protect your child and insulate him or her from the consequences of his or her actions. Doing this does not help your child learn about personal responsibility, and could set your teen up for more serious problems during adulthood. Consider these four tips for helping your teenager to become a responsible member of society.
Explain How to Earn and Manage Money
Most schools provide little to no education about money and finances. As a parent, this responsibility is likely to fall on your shoulders. While it is a good idea to start talking about money management when your children are young, it is not too late to start when they are teenagers. As kids become teens, their wants become more expensive. A preschooler might have wanted an inexpensive toy, but your teenager may desire to own a car. If your teen does not already have a way to earn money outside of the home, start brainstorming together about how he or she could do this. If your teenager is too busy with extracurricular activities and homework during the school year, arrange for a summer job. Show your teen the family budget and how much things such as car insurance, the mortgage, groceries and utilities cost.
Educate Teens about Avoiding Alcohol and DWIs
Teens may start going to parties or friends’ houses where there is accessible alcohol. It is important to teach your teens about avoiding alcohol. It is especially crucial to talk to your teenager about avoiding alcohol and DWIs once he or she has a learner’s permit or driving license. Teens may have trouble saying “no” to a drink if they do not already have a plan on how to avoid such situations. However, they won’t have trouble saying “no” if you ask them to look up how much it costs to hire a DWI attorney should they be caught drinking and driving. One drink could quickly lead to another. A teen could become impaired after just one or two drinks. Work out a plan with your child, such as texting a word that triggers you to show up where the party is and get him or her out of the situation.
Have Regular Discussions about Relationships
Teens may also be interested in starting romantic relationships or hanging out with large groups of friends. Be sure to teach your teen about peer pressure around issues such as drugs, smoking, and other dangerous activities. If your teen is feeling romantic about one individual in particular, have regular discussions about sex. In order for a teen to be responsible, he or she needs to have the information that is necessary to make the best possible decision. If your child is uncomfortable talking with you about issues such as sex, your family doctor may be a good, independent resource for information about hormones and how bodies work.
Teach Kids about Taking Responsibility for Their Actions
Teens need to know that they will be held responsible for their actions. For example, if a teenager shoplifts from a store, he or she should be taught that there will be consequences not just from you, but from the law. Part of being a responsible member of society is accepting culpability for one’s own actions. From cheating on a test to sexting or sending nude photos, teens may make a variety of mistakes. Real consequences from those mistakes will help your teen to avoid making even more serious mistakes as an adult.
Teaching your child about responsibility now helps him or her to be set up for success in the future. Regular discussions with your teen keep the lines of communication open. You can also help to teach your child about responsibility by demonstrating it yourself, such as avoiding the consumption of alcohol when you plan to be driving.