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INVOLVE TEENS IN A FAMILY CRISIS

I just heard about an 17-year-old youth whose grandparents were both quite ill. His grandmother, who had been caring for his ailing grandfather, collapsed and was taken to the hospital for surgery. His parents were doing the best they could to care for the grandfather, bringing meals to his house, etc. But Grandpa, worried and sleepless, stopped eating and ended up in the hospital himself. The teen, on spring break, asked his mother if he could move in and take care of Grandpa when he was discharged from the hospital until Grandma got better.

Neat! A family crisis solved by a teenager! And he volunteered! Much better than hearing horror stories about misbehaving teens.

However when I told this story at lunch the other day, two mothers of teen boys were dubious. “My son isn’t responsible enough.” said one. “Maybe if he were a girl he would know how to take care of people but boys don’t know how.”said the other.

I held my tongue because I only offer parenting advice when I am asked to but if your 17-year-old isn’t responsible or doesn’t know how to care for people because he isn’t a girl, there has been a parenting lapse.

Many parents out there don’t realize that they give their children a real gift when they expect their child to assume responsibility at a young age. The kindergarten kids who know they are expected to pick up their room and make their bed before school (no, not neatly but a five-year-old can shake out the quilt and smooth it over) feel they count around their house. The sense of pride makes the next step of increased responsibility easier. So start early and don’t underestimate your teen.

Lose your conscious or subconscious gender bias. Both your sons and daughters should learn how to do and assume responsibility for household tasks traditionally assigned to women. You start by asking toddlers to put away the spoons. By high school age every boy and girl should be able to do dishes, laundry, cleaning, and simple cooking. And every girl and boy should know how to plunger a toilet and replace a washer in a leaking faucet.

Directions for raising a responsible teen:

1) START AGE-APPROPRIATE CHORES EARLY.

2) GRADUALLY EXPECT THE CHILD TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHORES ( This means you stop reminding them to do it).

3) TAKE THE TIME TO SHOW AND TELL YOUR KIDS HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES AND THE HOUSE.

4) BE GENDER NEUTRAL IN TEACHING ABOUT AND ASSIGNING CHORES.

Your responsible teen will then be ready to help out in a family crisis. Not every teen will think to volunteer but you can ask them to be involved.. When you EXPECT they will help out you give teens the gift of trust in their ability to do so.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS THEY CAN GET A PROFESSIONAL, PERSONAL, AND PRIVATE ANSWER TO THEIR PARENTING QUESTIONS BY GOING TO info@ParentKidsRight.com