Adolescence is a time of growth and change. Not only are our young people’s bodies changing, so too are their attitudes, their thoughts and their ability to contribute. 

If you want your young person to be able to leave home at the age of 18 with the ability to be a contributing member of a flat, an employment team, friendships, a relationship, and know themselves well enough to manage this learning curve while continuing to hold true to themselves … then it makes sense that the concept of self responsibility is something that begins at home. 

Self responsibility is a cornerstone of a whole and happy life for many reasons. Here’s the top seven:

#1 Independence = Freedom

Being self responsible means managing your own life. There will always be something new to figure out. Being able to navigate this by themselves will save your young person many hours of worry. Having a system for tackling new challenges teaches your young person to be a self-reliant individual, capable of making decisions and learning new skills as they need to. 

#2 Builds Confidence and Self-Worth

Getting to make their own decisions and having them be the right move creates an upward spiral of success. When our young people know they can achieve goals and overcome challenges on their own they also feel more confident and worthy of their achievements. 

#3 Encourages Better Decision Making

The more intentional decisions our young people make, the more they will reflect on the outcomes of those decisions. When you’re learning you’re winning. This naturally lends itself to making informed and thoughtful choices, which then lead to better outcomes. This mindset creates its own upward spiral.

#4 Accountability

Being responsible teaches our young people to understand how important it is to be accountable. This will mean they look at their own choices and behaviour first, before blaming others. Experience is an accurate teacher. Combined with time, our young people will grow in wisdom.

#5 Better Time Management Skills

Managing their own responsibilities makes our young people prioritise their tasks and their time effectively. These skills are invaluable when they juggle the demands life brings their way. 

#6 Improves Relationships

When our young people are reliable and trustworthy they enjoy stronger relationships with their friends, their family and their employers. This in turn strengthens their social bonds and leads to more positive interactions. 

#7 Gets Them Ready for Real World Challenges

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock … life in the adult world is demanding! Whether it’s a case of managing their finances, picking good friends, meeting deadlines or balancing their social life with study and work, these skills are essential for navigating adult life successfully. 

For the Parent who wants their Young Person to live a Successful Life

  1. Start early! Sit down with your 12 year old and talk to them about what they’ll be expected to do when they’re 18. List out E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
  2. Break that list down. What is reasonable for them to start doing when they’re 12? What about 13? Keep going until you’ve got ALL the items on the list allocated. 
  3. Ask them what their thoughts are about their first steps. Explain that you are their guide. Self responsibility is something you can talk to them about, but in the end it’s up to them. You have expectations that they will live a full and successful life and you can’t wait to see them stepping into it body, mind and soul. 
  4. Persist. Not only will your teens be thankful later. So will their friends, their future partners, their employers, their flatmates, their children … you get the picture. Guiding them with loving kindness, clarity and expectation will have benefits that ripple out through the generations. 

Our attempts to guide our young people are never wasted. Our teens won’t necessarily appreciate them at the time (and even if they did, they’d NEVER admit it!). 

A wise parent will take a deep breath and fall back on the time honoured phrase of, “This isn’t working” as they open a new round of negotiation. 

Your ability to reflect on what’s working and what needs stepping up is a skill you can grow too. Use this link for a complimentary strategy session with Melanie and take your parenting to a new level.