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How to Make Teens Accountable

by Kathryn Hatter, studioD

Personal accountability is part of growing up. When people make a decision -- whether wise or not -- dealing with the fallout of the decision goes along with it. When parents make teens accountable for their decisions and actions, the result is effective lesson learning. Your child will quickly learn which actions were positive and which ones had a negative result. These experiences will help teach responsible behavior.

Institute firm and clear expectations in your home to give teenagers structure and boundaries, advised psychologist James Lehman with the Empowering Parents website. Along with each expectation, create a clear and well-defined consequence if your teenager fails to meet the expectation. For example, if your teenager does not take out the trash, he needs to turn his cell phone in to you for two days.

Supervise your teenager’s activities daily to be an involved presence in his life. This daily supervision might include ensuring your teen gets off to school on time, checking in with him when he gets home after school, asking how much homework he has, reminding him of household chores and ensuring that he abides by curfew and other household rules. At the end of the day, do an overall check to determine whether your teen missed any responsibilities or expectations.

Follow-through with promised consequences if your teenager fails to meet expectations. Following-through on consequences is simply keeping the promise you made to your child. Because keeping promises is an important part of accountability, your example can be an effective tool to teach keeping promises, according to the SchoolFamily website. Deliver notification of the consequence to your teen in a matter-of-fact manner to inform him of it. Avoid emotion -- keep this conversation calm and low-key.

Model an attitude of humility for your child. When you make mistakes, admit them, apologize and make amends. Your example can help your teenager become more accountable, admitting mistakes and resolving them.

Allow external and natural consequences to happen to your teenager whenever applicable, according to Education.com. For example, if your teenager procrastinates on an assignment and doesn’t get it done on time, he needs to deal with the bad grade without a note from you. If your teenager gets a speeding ticket, he needs to pay the fine himself.

Praise your teenager when he handles responsibilities and meets expectations. Positive reinforcement helps encourage more responsible behavior.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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