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Freedom and Responsibility- Continued

by Michele | March 31st, 2010 | Teens, Tweens

Two weeks ago, one of our teen writers shared his thoughts on freedom and responsibility. As an about-to-be fourteen year old, Jacob shared his perspective on the relationship between those two concepts. Last week, I shared my thoughts about how freedom and responsibility relate from the perspective of a parent.

This week, I wanted to delve more deeply into one of Jacob’s suggestions: State the rule and consequence for the behavior before it happens. As I have noted, it is important for children of all ages to have a clear understanding of what is expected and what happens when expectations are not met. If you are the parent of a tween or teen (say between the ages of 12 and 14), these two areas of responsibility might be a good starting place for you and your child:

The child needs to wake up and get up on time on school days.

  • Determine what time your child needs to wake up and get up on a school day in order to be ready on time.
  • If your child is not out of bed by 5 minutes past this time, move their bedtime earlier by 15 minutes.
  • Once the child is on schedule, return to normal bedtimes, or adjust bedtimes as needed.
  • If your child is able to maintain the morning schedule, you can work with your child to set a bedtime that pleases both parent and child.

Homework is to be completed on time.

  • By this age, you shouldn’t need to check your child’s homework. Your child should complete it as assigned.
  • As the parent, you should check grades regularly. (Most school post grades online on a regular basis.) If grades drop, tell your child that “screen time” (computers, gaming systems, cell phones, tvs) will be revoked until you have checked assignments daily.
  • If your child continues to produce acceptable grades, “screen time” will be allowed at whatever amount you deem appropriate.

Your child most likely is craving more freedom. By making your child be responsible in order to earn freedom, it will help him be better prepared for adulthood. If your child is successful at handling these new responsibilities, she will earn the freedom she has been craving.

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