How to Stop Doing Everything for Your Teen

We all are trying to navigate through this parenting thing, right? We all know there is no right way to parent. One aspect that we as parents have taken on is doing everything for our kids. This may seem okay when they are younger. We know how to pack their lunch, make sure they get out the door on time or remind them to finish their homework. The problem is that a lot of parents continue to do these things and more- well into the teen years.

As a parent, you are hindering your teen’s growth by continuing to not hold them responsible and accountable for such things. It is important to teach your teen to be responsible for their commitments, teen independence, and build future relationships. Additionally, you will teach your teen independence. This is important so that in the future they will not only be able to take care of themselves but also their future family. To help you stop doing everything for your teen and to build the necessary skills for the future, we have compiled a list of things that you should stop doing for your teen.

  1. Laundry

Has your teen ever snapped at you because you haven’t washed those pair of jeans they wanted to wear out on Friday night? That is the perfect reason why you should hand over the task of doing laundry to your teen. They need a good reminder that you are not the maid. Honestly, this is a task they are going to need to do in life sooner than later. Then the next time their favorite pair of jeans are not clean, it’s on them and not on you!

  1. Making themselves meals

This one should be easy. Make sure you have plenty of healthy food choices for your teen can handle this one just fine. At a minimum, most teens can handle pouring cereal, making a sandwich, and packing an apple for lunch. You could also take this opportunity to teach some basic cooking skills. This skill will also help set the stage for further cooking lessons to help them be able to cook as an adult.

  1. Waking them up in the morning

That is what alarms are for! Honestly, you teach your teen responsibility. They are entirely capable of setting an alarm to a reasonable time to get up, get ready, and out the door to school on time. After suffering the consequences of a few tardies or long walks to school, your teen will likely understand what it takes to get up on time in the morning.

  1. Handling their forgetfulness

Have you ever been at work and gotten the call your teen left their project that was due today on the kitchen table? Let me get this straight, you are supposed to leave your work and take them their project so they don’t suffer any repercussions? Not only can this have repercussions for you in lost wages or lost time, it is not you that should suffer. It should be them. As a parent, you can help remind your teen of deadlines or better yet, help them calendar deadlines with reminders to ensure that this doesn’t happen and if it does, they are going to have to figure out how to handle forgetting something.

  1. Contacting Teachers

Sometimes teachers and students have a miscommunication or maybe your teen needs clarification on some school work. Encourage your kids to communicate with their teachers. Your teen needs to learn how to communicate and sort through any school issues with their teachers.

  1. Being overly involved in school work

It can be tempting to oversee your teen’s schoolwork to make sure they are not making any mistakes. However, keep in mind that you have already gone through school and this is their schoolwork, not yours. You can walk through a problem with your student to help them better understand and work through it, but under no circumstances should you be doing it for them. If your teen’s grades suffer they might begin to understand the importance of being responsible for getting their school work complete.

  1. Filling out paperwork

Whether it be a job application, a permission slip, a scholarship form, your teen needs to be filling out the necessary information. As a parent, feel free to proofread or offer suggestions, but the only thing that you should be doing is signing your signature if necessary. For example, if your teen misses a school field trip your teen might better appreciate doing paperwork themselves.

You might feel like your teen is not ready to handle these things, but you must begin handing over responsibility to your teen at some level to begin readying them for adulthood. By suffering the consequences of lack of responsibility, your teen will better understand the necessity of doing things for themselves. By expanding your teen’s responsibilities, you will give yourself a break and better yet, help your teen build self-confidence and skills that they will need throughout life.

Doorways LLC. is a faith-based counseling organization in Phoenix, Arizona, that provides comprehensive outpatient treatment focused exclusively on 13-25-year olds and their families specializing in treatment for eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety/OCD, substance abuse, depression, ADD/ADHD, self-harm, suicide prevention, and family counseling.


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