Parenting Teens- Developing a Sense of Responsibility

By Aug 27, 2013September 27th, 201311 Comments

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So my boy turns 13 in a few months. THIRTEEN.

I know what you are thinking. How could you possibly have a 13 year old? Did you have him when you were 13?

You are so sweet.

My sweet, snuggly boy is still there… some of the time. The other time, I am faced with this scattered, moody creature who lacks all common sense, but at the same time makes me laugh and gets sarcasm and has his own interesting views and opinions.

Teens and Respon

To guide me through this “interesting” time as a parent I swear by 2 sources. The first is Stefanie of Ooph.com. She’s raising two teenage boys and I consider he my “mommy mentor”. The second is a book called, “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic”. Let me just say, it rocks. One of its main messages is that we need to prepare our teens for the real world. We need to give them real responsibilities and act as consultants- not dictators.

When I was approached about working with Invisalign to participate in their Mom Advisory Board and put my son through treatment with their clear aligners, my first concern was, “My son is totally going to lose these things.”

My husband and I spoke about it at length, and then we spoke to Will. He really wanted the Invisalign instead of traditional braces because of baseball {getting hit in the mouth, ouch}, and that he thinks they are “awesome”. I explained that this was a commitment and a huge responsibility {I left out the fact that the Invisalign Teen treatment provides up to six replacement aligners}. He assured me that he could do it and I felt I needed to trust him with this very real responsibility.

With the new school year, we are adding money management to our focus and our allowance system has changed. My son gets paid depending on his “work” from the previous week {like a paycheck for someone self-employed}. His responsibilities include school work, chores, working out, wearing his aligners, attitude, etc. He gets paid a set amount if he does what’s expected. More if he exceeds expectations, less if he doesn’t meet expectations. He was a major part in determining the expectations and understands his effort directly effects his benefit. With 2 self-employed, entrepreneurial parents, this set-up seemed to make the most sense for our family.

We are 3 months into treatment, one aligner set #5 and he has not lost a thing. In fact, the only time we thought they were lost was when I was convinced I accidentally threw them out at my sister in laws house. After she went through the trash 3 times, I found them in my purse….

How are you building a sense of responsibility in your kiddos?

Invisalign for Teens

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board. My son is receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions expressed are my own. http://shout.lt/ggGP

About Tiffany

Lover of college football, sushi and historical fiction. Mom to a teen and a toddler. I am a real life summer camp director and President of Influencer Management at Sway Group.


  • Lori says:

    Such a great idea with the money management! Sounds like you are definitely raising a responsible young man. Being a productive member in a family is one of the most important lessons we can send our children into the world with. My daughters are now 18 and 22 and I very well remember the responsibilities of retainers and cleaning the braces-I wish we had had the opportunity of Invisalign!!

  • Nice system of encouragement? I have a tween daughter and I need some positive reinforcement ideas!

  • When I was a teenager, there was no internet, no iphone or ipads or tablets , no video games, all physical sports like football hockey cricket. Father had angry gestures so I never did what teenagers are blamed for. 🙂

  • laura says:

    My kids aren’t teens. Or tweens. My oldest is in the 1st grade, so we’re not even close. But still, I agree in that we need to instil responsibility in our children and I believe it starts at a young age. Even as a 1st grader, I’m talking to my son about accountability and responsibility. These words are posted in our house, so they are familiar terms; we have responsibilities listed and next to that our accountability chart. We have a homework ‘center’ and everything is checked over and discussed. It may not sound like a whole lot now, but these are the small steps and building blocks I’m putting into place so, hopefully, I’m equipped when my children are in the teen years. Hopefully!

  • Hi Tiffany!

    I have a 12, 14 soon 15 and 17 year old still at home…along with 4 grown! Whoosh. Good for you to give him such great responsibilities…I think we as parents get too nervous about that! As far as Invisalign..You will be soooo pleased with how it works and I love that teens can take them out and eat there candy! LOL One of my grown daughters is an office manager at a dental office and her, her husband and one of my other daughters have used Invisalign and love it! They worked beautifully!

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy those years…I can’t believe my son will be graduating this year! 🙁

    • 4 tween/teens? You are special woman. 😉

      Thanks so much for the feedback and sharing your families experience with Invisalign- we’ve been really pleased so far. He loves that he can take it out for “movie candy”!

  • Cassi says:

    I have exactly a year and 3 months before my son turns 13. As the non-custodial/weekend parent I’m not sure what I can really do to build a sense of responsibility in the limited time I have him.

    • Even little responsibilities let them know we trust and believe in them. Enjoy the 12 year old year! The firs 1/2 was a doozy for us, but the past 4 months have been great- we are working it out as we go..

  • Adrian says:

    Absolutely! Raising these people to be responsible adults can be an epic challenge. The last of my 3 boys hit Hogh School this year and I’m a lot more tired than I was with the last one! But it goes fast and it has its light-hearted moments too. One thing I’ve been doing is making him keep a weekly spreadsheet if his grades and assignments along with an improvement plan for the following week. That puts the ball squarely in his court. I’m just hoping it works because his grades were definitely slipping last year…. Figures! Just when it starts to count towards college.