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Including Them In Household Decisions

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 2 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Including Them In Household Decisions

In a typical family dynamic, the parents and stepparents make and enforce the rules, but as children mature into teenagers, some parents allow them to be part of the decision making team. In just a few short years, teens will be grown and on their own, so smart parents give their teenagers an increasing level of responsibility so that they learn to make good choices.

Recognising the Maturity of Teenagers

The teen years are marked by a great deal of growing, not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally as well. Today’s teenagers are often fairly world-wise, with interests in many previously adults-only topics. Politically savvy teens are not unusual, and many parents go to their teenagers for advice when they are trying to master a new skill on the computer. In spite of the maturity of many modern teens, it is not uncommon for parents and stepparents to still view their teenage children as, well, children. Stepparents can win big points with their teenage stepchildren by recognizing the teens as almost adult members of the family and then consulting them as family decisions are being made.

Being Respectful of Teens’ Feelings

Teenagers can be sensitive to anything that they perceive as criticism, so dealing with teens can require a good degree of care. While they may sometimes overreact to the limitations that they feel their family puts upon them, they aren’t always wrong. Adult family members don’t always take the feelings of teenagers into consideration when making decisions, and this lack of forethought may leave teens feeling angry or upset. While the most serious decisions need to be made by parents and stepparents, who’ve had sufficient life experience to make sound choices, teens are quite capable of helping out with some everyday household decisions.

Decisions That Teenagers Can Make

Teenagers may be especially interested in having a say on house rules that apply directly to them, including curfews, academic expectations, family holidays, room assignments, and driving privileges. Younger teens can be given an increasing say in family matters, proportionate to their maturity levels and proven record for making good choices.

Many teens are expected to handle a variety of household chores and may prefer some jobs to others. Kids and teens may be allowed (and encouraged) to trade chores if they wish, just so all of the assignments ultimately get completed. Learning to be flexible and accommodating can be valuable life skills, so allowing teenagers to try their hand at a variety of tasks can help prepare them for independent life, which is right around the corner for them. While parents and stepparents may be used to things being done a certain way, they need to make room for the input of their growing family members.

Rewarding Mature Behaviour from Teenagers

Real life rewards people for making sound decisions and in many families, the same criteria applies. As teens show that they are able to be thoughtful and mature in their behaviour, parents may choose to increase privileges and allow additional freedoms. While taking away favoured activities works to keep kids and teens behaving appropriately, most react better when their good choices are acknowledged and rewarded. Family life can be a bit like a team sport – star players get lots of accolades.

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