Teaching your teenager responsibility with one simple task; lunch packing
This post is brought to you by Mike Agar, a parent of teenage boys and the founder of Kindera.
In teaching responsibility to our kids, we usually start with simple chores like mowing the lawn, loading the dishwasher, or taking out the trash. All very good tasks for our kids, but they all have one thing in common: each of those tasks requires the parent to enforce the duty. Failure to meet their responsibility ultimately leads to more conflict and strife in the home. Did you really mean to sign up for weekly fights about the trash?
The real trick to teaching responsibility to teens is finding jobs that they personally benefit from and also ones where they personally feel the consequences of failure. For without accountability, there can be no responsibility. What we are looking for is something where our oversight is unnecessary to ensure they act to meet their responsibilities.
So this year, going back to school comes with a new surprise. We are making our teens responsible for making their own lunches. All at once we are teaching them important life skills about meal preparation and as a nice little side benefit, we have lightened our own load.
It’s really quite easy to see how this solution helps everyone. The kids are empowered to make their own meal choices since they prepare it. Failure to prepare a lunch for school means they go hungry and that’s the sort of consequence that is harmless once in awhile and yet uncomfortable enough to make repeated forgetfulness unlikely. And the best part of the lesson is taught without you raising your voice in anger.
Special thanks to Kindera for this post!