Teenagers are adults in training, so as a parent, you have the task of helping them grow to be independent. Homeschooled teens are often quite responsible already, but they still need a boost so that they can take charge of their lives and grow into the best adults they can be. Read on for a few ideas to help you as you guide them.
Talk About Issues
First, you should talk to teens about what it means to be an independent adult and what is involved in growing up. Let your kids know that they can come to you with problems and that you will guide them. But also give them a chance to come up with their own solutions and try them out, even if you don’t think they will work. You might be surprised.
Take some time to discuss your own experiences and tricks that you’ve learned. You might tell them about strategies you’ve used to take charge of your own life and become the adult you are. Perhaps you’ve tried the 75 Hard mental challenge program, for instance. When your kids ask, “What is 75 Hard exactly,” explain to them how it works and what you discovered by trying it. They might not be ready for it yet, but they might sample some elements.
Give your teens plenty of opportunities to practice independence and responsibility, too. Assign specific tasks around the house along with their regular school work. These might include house cleaning and caring for younger siblings, cooking or doing yard work. Make sure that your teens know that if they don’t follow through, you aren’t going to pick up the slack.
Kids often feel overwhelmed when they have a bit too much to do, but this is something they must learn to cope with. The best way to help is to teach them organization skills. Show them how to keep a planner, either on paper or electronically, and to make a habit of using it. Also, insist that your teens organize their possessions and keep their rooms neat. Don’t do it for them either. They must take charge.
Hold Teens Responsible
It’s easy to let things slide with your teens. You’re busy. They’re busy. But you still need to hold them responsible for the rules you set, the tasks they’ve taken on and the commitments they’ve made. Only then will teenagers realize that being an independent adult (or at least growing into an adult) requires perseverance. If you let them get by too many times, they will get into the habit of expecting you to cover for them, and they will actually grow more dependent.
Of course, holding teens responsible also means applying consequences when they don’t follow through. This might include removing privileges for tasks left undone or adding extra chores. It could mean the loss of an allowance for a week or missing out on something fun. You may not like applying consequences, but your teens need to learn that their actions or omissions affect others and themselves. It’s a hard lesson, but it’s also a critical one.
Be an Example
Finally, if you want to teach your teens how to be independent and take charge of their lives, then model the behavior you want to see. Let your kids watch you handle difficulties, stay organized, get your work done and deal with problems. Be an example of a responsible adult, and when you mess up, admit that, too, and deal properly with the consequences. Your actions may speak louder than your words.
Your teens are on the verge of adulthood, so they need to practice responsibility so that they can take charge of their lives and flourish.