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The Teen's Responsibilities in the Family

by Sara Ipatenco

If you get frustrated picking up your teen's dirty clothes, hanging up her backpack and cleaning her bathroom, perhaps it's time to discuss responsibility. Teens are perfectly capable of taking on household chores and carrying out other family responsibilities, and they should be expected to. Once your child finishes growing and moves out, she'll thank you for teaching her how to take care of herself.

Household Chores

Since your teen lives in your home, you have every right to expect her to do household chores. In fact, you would be doing her a disservice not to expect her to pitch in and help out. It goes beyond taking her dishes to the kitchen after a meal and making her own bed. Your teen is old enough to contribute in more meaningful ways. Assign her chores that she's expected to complete everyday. She might do her own laundry, unload the dishwasher, care for the pets or vacuum and mop the floors once a week. Yes, she'll probably complain, but remind her that everyone in the family has to work together to maintain a nice, pleasant and clean home. Being required to do chores also prepares your teen to have her own home someday.

School Responsibilities

One of your teen's most important roles in the family is to go to school and try his best. Think about school as your teen's job. He's required to show up on time, listen to authority and complete assigned tasks to the best of his ability. Your teen needs to know that you expect his best when he's at school. When your teen also views school as his job, he's more likely to take it seriously. Keep abreast of what your teen is doing at school, which will send the message that you want to support and help him do his job. Offer to help with homework and take an interest in the books he's reading for class. If he has someone who genuinely cares about his schoolwork, he's more likely to also care about it.

Family Time

Spending time with parents, siblings, grandparents and other extended family members is another important responsibility for teens. If your teen is like most, she probably would rather spend time with her friends, but requiring her to participate in family events is essential. Family events provide your teen with a sense of stability and security, according to Jesuit Social Services. In fact, as teens grow into adulthood, the relationships with family members become even more important than relationships with peers, so it's necessary to foster those by asking your teen to take part in family functions. Set boundaries and expect your teen to show up on time. Don't expect her to come to every little thing, but let her know that you want her to make an appearance at important events such as weddings, baptisms and graduations.

Tips and Considerations

Sit down with your teen and write a list of expectations. Outline what chores your teen will do, what kind of grades you expect from him and when he needs to make time for his family. Let your teen take an active role in the process because it will encourage him to adhere to your guidelines since he was part of the creation process. Include consequences, such as lost phone or television privileges, if he doesn't meet the expectations. Use positive reinforcement when your teen lives up to these expectations, suggests the University of Minnesota Extension. Teens naturally want to please their parents and they're more likely to do a good job when you notice their efforts.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

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