If you would like to see your child develop more responsibility before next school year (and most parents of middlers would), resolve to make this summer a meaningful one.

Here is a sample plan to consider:
  • Set rules and consequences. Many parents set rules in advance, but end up giving consequences “on the fly” when their child breaks a rule. The child’s focus then changes from the rule she broke to anger toward parent. However, a child who knows the consequence in advance knows exactly what she is getting herself into for breaking the rule.
  • Assign chores. Each family member shares responsibility for keeping the household running smoothly. Don’t nag your child about chores. If she fails to do them, then someone else (probably you) will have to. But when she asks you to take her somewhere, or has another request, you may be either too tired or too busy to do so. Let her know you would’ve been free to help her if you hadn’t had to take on her chores yourself.
  • Earn trust with small steps. If you child has been irresponsible, your firsts reaction may be that you won’t trust her with anything. This won’t help her learn. Instead, give her a chance to earn back your rust with small amounts of freedom. Check to see how she handles this. If she is doing what you expect, tell her that being consistent with this behavior will gradually earn her more freedom.

Source: Don Fontanelle, Keys to Parenting Your Teenager, ISBN: 0-7641-1290-2 (Barron’s Educational Series)