Developing Responsibility in TeenagersSep 29, 2022
Follow the Show
This episode is all about raising responsible adults and, more specifically, developing responsibility in our teenagers. It’s all about the tension between what teenagers want (freedom) and what they don't want (responsibility).
You’ll learn how to navigate this tension by using limits and boundaries to give freedom and teach responsibility.
The Relationship Between Freedom and Responsibility
Teenagers want FREEDOM. They want to live in a rule-free house. They want to be trusted. They want independence.
They want to sleep when they want, game when they want, eat what they want, talk to who they want, leave when they want, come home when they want…
What they don’t want is RESPONSIBILITY. They think they do, but they don’t really know what that means.
This is the underlying tension of it all. Your teenager wants freedom, but they can’t quite handle all of the responsibility that comes with the freedom they desire.
Can Your Teen Handle More Freedom?
Giving teenagers freedom is REALLY HARD for us because we feel afraid that our kids won't make good decisions. And as kids get older, the stakes seem higher.
This feeling of powerlessness can be scary. Especially when your teenager starts making very adult decisions and your entire body is tight with a feeling of terror.
When we feel afraid for our kids, we tend to put on more rules, more restrictions.
We decrease freedom.
We take away their right to see their friends. We cut off the use of their phone. We don’t let them go to things.
In the short term, it seems like this is the best plan. Take away privilege and they’ll learn to think before they act.
Being super strict is also a way for you to get back control so you feel safer.
But decreasing freedom in adolescence isn’t actually serving you…or your teenager.
It can hurt your teen’s self concept, hold back their social development, breed disconnection between you and lead to communication problems and resentment.
But possibly the biggest impact is that decreasing freedom also deprives your teenager of the opportunity to develop responsibility.
So how do you prepare a teenager to become an adult who can successfully manage all the freedom and all the responsibility?
Give Your Teen More Responsibility
As your teen increases in freedom, they should also have more responsibility.
Instead of taking away freedom and privilege, what responsibilities can you add?
Here’s the thing. Eventually your child will become an adult. They will have the freedom. You will have no control.
And the reason you won’t have any control is because you will no longer be responsible for your child. They will be responsible for themselves.
That’s why giving them age-appropriate boundaries that honor their need for freedom within a structured limit that fosters responsibility is super important.
Listen to the full episode for examples and tips.
- Why more rules and restrictions are not serving your or your teen
- Real-life example of how to use freedom as a test of responsibility
- How to set effective limits without being extreme, harsh or removing all privileges
Connect With Darlynn:
- Sign up for love notes and learn about The Calm Mama Club at www.calmmamacoaching.com
- Follow me on Instagram @darlynnchildress for daily tips
- Rate and review the podcast on Amazon
- Register for the "Parenting Teens Without Losing Your Shit" Masterclass
In my upcoming Raising Teens Masterclass, I’m walking you through the social and emotional stages of adolescence, helping you understand what’s normal, what they need and why they act the way they act.
What you learn in this class will help you manage your mind, set limits that work, get closer to your teen during this time (yes, it’s possible), AND not lose your shit in the process.
The masterclass is Wednesday, October 12th at 1 pm Pacific (4 pm Eastern), replay will be available if you can’t make it live. It’s only $25 for a 90minute class, plus a bonus 30-minute Q&A with me.