I’ve only got the one teen, but I’ve been assured this is a normal phase for his age. Regardless, I believe it’s important that as parents, we teach responsibility to our kids early. When they start taking ownership for the little things now, it only makes things easier when they get out there in the real world as adults.
There are times I find myself … frustrated with my teenboy.
He is 15. At his age, we should not have to remind him about the little things, like things he’s responsible for around the house on a regular basis, or, oh… basic hygiene.
As parents, we have to take ownership in this problem, too. We’ve fallen into the trap of reminding him to take care of these things for far too long. As I recall saying to my sister at the age of 14 when she asked me why I kept forgetting to take my seizure control medications, “Why should I remember? Everyone keeps reminding me.” I was a snotty little teen back then. But at least I smelled good. Why anyone put up with that attitude back then I have no idea…
But I digress.
We’re doing now what someone should have done for me back then. We’re laying out clear expectations.
The boy has a week to adjust, and then he’s on his own. If he doesn’t take responsibility for what’s on his list, he loses privileges (the cell phone we pay for, internet access we pay for, etc…). He enjoys writing and I won’t take that away, but he can write old-style, with pen and paper. I figure one or two times and this won’t be an issue anymore.
The list he has on his door and on the fridge:
Some may think this is a bit harsh; however, the teenboy does have an excuse or an argument for delaying, not doing, or forgetting to do everything. We aren’t shutting him down from communication. We want him to communicate proactively. We also want him to communicate if an issue arises (for example, technical difficulties with the washer). Taking ownership of “I forgot” and admitting one’s mistakes is also an important part of growing up.