Question: How do I teach my 14-year-old boy responsibility?
He is constantly forgetting something. I know part of it is his age, but I am afraid some of it is hereditary. Also, do you have any tips on organization?
Answer: Elizabeth Walenz, Pediatrician
Some different things I will try with my adolescent patients are reminder boards or chore charts. Going through at the beginning of the week what chores, your son is responsible for and then having him mark them off when completed may help to serve as reminders.
During the school year, I will recommend an assignment notebook that he has to go through each night to finish and complete homework and to prepare for the next day.
If the teen is lazy and forgetting things, or even distracted by phone/ipod/game system, I will take away privileges. These privileges will also include screen time or time with friends. The teen will have to earn back privileges by staying on task and remembering things.
Also, having a routine in place, especially for your mornings can help the teen to keep track of things. Having jobs for the teen to complete at home will also help to teach responsibility, whether it is cleaning his room or starting to do his own laundry.
Have your teen complete his chores/jobs before he can get together with friends or play on the computer. If the teen is also having forgetfulness problems at school or problems with grades, it would be a good idea to talk to his teacher or your pediatrician about your concerns.