Teens can be scary for everyone, not just single moms. It’s important you help your teen make the right choices at such a vulnerable time in their early adulthood. You might be asking yourself, “when did my baby become a teenager?” You suddenly wake up one morning and find out you’re sharing your house with another adult. They may not be as mature at most of the adults you know, but they are asserting their independence more and more everyday.
Congratulations, Mom. You’ve successfully raised your baby and are almost at the finish line. But that doesn’t mean your job gets any easier. You might not have to keep your eye on the kids every second, but their health and safety is still your responsibility. The trick is to be responsible even when the kids are spending more and more time away from your parenting influence and making more choices without you.
Help them make responsible choices when they are out in the world by letting them practice their decision making skills in the safety of their own home by giving them choices at every opportunity. When you first start, make sure the available choices fall within certain boundaries that you are willing to accept. If you let the child choose the menu, you might find yourself eating pizza every night. Instead, give them the option of spaghetti or beef roast. Carrots or green beans. This way they’ll realize that most choices in life are based on the options available, not a wish list.
If your teen chooses an available option that you believe isn’t the right option, resist the urge to further influence their decision. Respect the choice even if you think they’ll regret it.
Let the teen make choices in prioritizing their own schedule. If they have chores around the house, homework and plans with friends, they’ll soon learn that if they choose to unwind after school with video games, they may have to give up later plans with friends because they still have to walk the dog, take out the garbage and get that homework done. Be consistent about the list being completed on a regular basis, while being flexible enough to realize that things do come up. But, if you regularly give in and walk the dog and take out the garbage yourself, the only thing your teen is learning is how to avoid responsibility.