Many parents worry that while they are at work their adolescent children will get bored and get involved with unsavory activities and characters. There are enough incidents on Dr Phil and other like-minded shows that indicate that children can indeed get themselves into trouble if they do not follow the rules. It cannot be easy to be at work and worry all the time what your children are getting up to, especially after they come home from school. Teaching your twelve-year-old or fourteen-year-old to be responsible requires the support of every member in the family. What you are trying to teach your child might not appear to be successful at first, but repetition, if you stick to it, will yield results.
Pointers for more responsible behavior
· When you give one of your children the key to enter the house after school, make sure he knows where the key is and that no stranger know where it is kept. This has to be adhered to or you can have bigger problems on hand.
· When you ask him to do something for you when he comes home from school, make sure that he does it or he will soon think you lax and take more advantage.
· Letting go of your child happens gradually, and learning to become responsible is a process. Understand this.
· Mean what you say. Don’t change your mind once you have made a decision; stick to the plan.
· When there is a problem, ask your child what he thinks has gone wrong; involve him in the process. Remember you child will go out on his own in the world and must learn to do things for himself.
· Listen to your child when he comes to you with a problem. Perhaps it involves his mother and he is embarrassed to say so; or perhaps it is a personal problem that needs his father to give him advice.
· When there are arguments or problems, brainstorm the problem and try to come to an amicable solution.
· Never embarrass your children in front of others; always treat them with respect.
When teaching your children responsibility, don’t lord it over them, meaning not to let them feel like irresponsible kids all the time. Children have feelings and they have to vent. Never push a child into a corner and leave him no room to maneuver himself out of the situation. In the end it is about trying to raise kids who can become responsible adults and not about making the child feel small. When your adolescent child acts out and is always in trouble, there usually is a reason why he is behaving in such a manner. Get to the root of the problem. Brainstorm. Ask questions until you get the right answer.