Want to help your ninth-grader with their responsible decision-making skills? Here are some tips that experts suggest.
Talk to your teen about accountability
Accountability is an important aspect of relationships, and one of the best ways to teach your adolescent about it is to talk about the role responsibility plays in your family. At dinner time, have each member of your family talk about some of the actions they take that demonstrate responsibility and then discuss what this value means to them. Explain to your teen that people who are responsible behave in ways that make others trust them and take ownership of their actions. They also don’t make excuses for bad behavior or blame others when something goes wrong. Tell your teen that it is good to take responsibility for their actions and that by shifting the blame or playing the victim they are only contributing to the problem.
Discuss adult responsibilities with your teen
Your teen will be heading out into the real world before you know it, and it’s crucial to prepare them for the decisions they will make once they are an adult. One of the most relevant topics to cover is finances. Explain to your teen how important it is to set a monthly budget and use it as a guide when paying bills, buying groceries, and spending on clothes, outings, or gifts. You may want to help them come up with a budget and talk to them about ways that they can make responsible decisions about money. This is also a good time to have a discussion about paying for college and about the responsibilities of student loans. You can use this as an opportunity to talk about financial aid and scholarship options and have them start researching funding sources for college. The more you speak to your teen about money and the expectations of adulthood, the better prepared your child will be to make responsible decisions about these things in the future.
Compliment your high-schooler's decision-making and support his choices
High-schoolers are making many choices and may not consult you on everything. By supporting your teen’s growing independence and the choices that they make, you’re giving him more confidence and showing that you trust them. The more you give your teen room for their own choices, the more they’ll be able to trust and believe in themselves.
To learn more about decision-making for your child, check out our ninth-grade decision-making page.
Parent Toolkit resources were developed by NBC News Learn with the help of subject-matter experts, including Elias, Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Jennifer Miller, Author, Confident Parents, Confident Kids; and Michele Borba, Author and Educational Psychologist.