We’ve been talking this month about teaching your teen responsibility—something that is not always that easy! The dictionary defines responsibility as, “Involving personal accountability or ability to act without guidance or superior authority.” A person is regarded as responsible when he or she is “capable of making moral or rational decisions on his own and, therefore, answerable for one’s own behavior.”
The Bible talks about personal responsibility often. It is a principle that is woven throughout the narrative of the Bible. Consider what God’s Word says about responsibility:
You are only responsible for today: You can’t change the past, and your teen can’t either. But God does forgive, and He does not want your teen to let their past rule their present. Jesus told the woman at the well, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11). Work to exhibit this same kind of attitude to your teen, extending grace for poor behavior or decisions that are in the past while at the same time, helping your pre-teens and teens learn how to take the past and learn and grow from it.
You are responsible for yourself: Each person is responsible for their own actions. Paul wrote in Romans 14:12 that, “each of us shall give account of himself to God.” King Solomon wrote, “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good of evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). Help your teen to understand God holds each person accountable for what they do—both the good and the bad.
Your choices have consequences: Every person on earth has the power of choice; they can do whatever they want. However, no one is exempt from the consequences of their actions. Help your teen understand that they can’t avoid consequences for being irresponsible, nor can they blame others for their poor choices. Help your child to learn to listen to God’s still small voice and respond to it. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21). Learning this as a young adult will guard against your teen making irresponsible choices in the future.
Did you know Jesus taught about responsibility? In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14–30) Jesus revealed that blessing comes from being responsible with what has been given. In this parable, Jesus extended responsibility to some servants, but held them accountable for not handling what they were given wisely.
Extend responsibility to your teen according to their ability—but be careful to hold them accountable when they don’t handle what was given to them well. Lovingly correct and re-direct, for “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27).
I hope this guidance from God’s Word on teaching your pre-teen or teen responsibility has been helpful.
I’m just an email away if you need help or have questions. I’m praying for you!
With your family in mind,
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