5 Ways to Raise a Grateful & Responsible Teen


“Clean your room.”

“Do your homework.”

“Have you done your chores?”

“Turn off the TV.”

“That’s enough screen time.”

“Not until you’ve done your…”-

“You’re going to regret this later.”

“I’m not going to ask you again.”

“This is for your own good.”

“You’re going to thank me later.”

We all know that nagging is absolutely useless. However, if you cringed reading the list above, there’s a chance your parents said things like, “Be sure to take care of yourself” or some other similar phrases fifty times each when they meant well but delivered their message in such an annoying way nonetheless.

We all know that teens are a handful. They’re moody, they’re constantly pushing against boundaries, they have dramatic outbursts, and they can be so rude to their parents. So it’s no wonder why many parents resort to nagging to get them to do what they’re supposed to do. But is this really the best way?

Nagging doesn’t work because it tells your teen two things:

1) You don’t respect them enough to assume that they’ll just do what you say and 2) You don’t trust them enough not only with your well-being but also with their own life decisions.

The reality is nagging makes kids feel incompetent.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with this issue. The key is to find a way to motivate your teen without nagging them. Here are five tips to get you started.

parenting teens

How to Raise Grateful and Responsible Teens

Be the Voice of Reason in a Chaotic Situation

I don’t know about you, but, parenting teenagers is no joke for me. You know how it is: your teens will be making all sorts of decisions and mistakes in their lives, and there’s not much that you can do to stop them from doing so. But what if there was something? What if you could help your kids make better choices? There’s no way for me to give my kids perfect advice on what they should or shouldn’t do, but I hope that by giving them some knowledge about the consequences of their actions (both good and bad) will help them make more informed decisions.

The thing with teens is that they have these weird powers – like ESP or something – where they just KNOW when we’re trying to tell them what to do. It’s like they have this built-in radar that zaps them when we’re nagging them, making the situation worse. So how can we motivate our teens without being a nag?

Well, one way is to be the voice of reason in a chaotic situation. When your teen is feeling overwhelmed and stressed, be there for them. Ask them what they need and how you can help instead of jumping in with a series of instructions. Once they are calm, they will be better able to make their own decisions.

Another way to motivate your teen without nagging is to set a good example yourself. If you’re always stressed out, your kids are going to pick up on it and feel the stress too. Show them that you can handle stressful situations in a positive way, and they’ll be more likely to do the same.

You can also give your teens some space. We all need time to ourselves sometimes, and your teen is no exception. If you’re always in their face, they will start tuning you out. Let them have their own hobbies and interests, and don’t be too pushy about what they should do.

talking with your teen

Bring Awareness to Their Strengths and Abilities so that They Can See Themselves as Responsible Individuals

Teens have an extremely flawed self-perception and don’t observe themselves in the same manner as their parents do. Ask them questions that will help them recognize their strengths and talents.

Help them proactively solve problems on their own by allowing them to think outside of what they know. This helps broaden perspective, build confidence, show responsibility, and make decisions with intention.

Encourage discussions about personal values or beliefs with your teen to discover what they want out of life individually instead of adopting the values of those around them.

tips to talk to your teen

Research and Guidance Counseling Will Help Your Teen on Their Path to Discovery

When you are trying to get someone started on the right path, show them where they can begin. Talk with your teens about their goals and then go from there. Provide resources or guiding opportunities so that everything is within reach. It’s important as a parent to be there for your teen and help them through anything they need, whether that is just being an ear to listen or doing some digging on their behalf.

Be the motivating factor in their lives even when it feels like everything else is against you.

It can be hard to stay positive when it feels like everything around you is negative, but it’s important to stay the course. Continue being the responsible role model you want them to emulate and be consistent with your actions, words, and emotions. It’s not easy, but it is worth it in the end when you see your children grow into amazing adults.

creating a positive relationship with your teen

Brainstorming With Your Teen Will Help Them Find Solutions to Difficult Problems

When your teen feels like giving up on solving the problem, set up an environment where your teen can express their ideas without any censorship and see if anything starts to bring clarity.

This also teaches your teen how to compromise and communicate with others. It can be difficult to find someone who will just listen without interruption, but it is a valuable skill that will come in handy down the road.

All of these things are important in raising grateful and responsible teens. When they know that they have someone in their corner rooting for them, they will be more likely try harder and be more appreciative of the things they have in life. Parenting isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

raising teens in a positive environment

Praise Your Teen’s Efforts and Celebrate Their Successes

When it comes to praise, encouragement and celebration of successes – choose your words wisely. It feels so much better than hassling or nagging your teen for the things they haven’t done or their mistakes.

Your responsible teen is growing up fast and you may feel like they don’t need as much encouragement. But the truth of the matter is, kids will always be more motivated by positive reinforcement. So let your teen know that you’re always there for them- even when things get tough. And don’t forget to celebrate the small successes because they all add up in the end!

Raising grateful and responsible teens will be a challenge, but one worth taking. When you show them that you care and are there for them, they will be more likely to try harder and be more appreciative. Use these five tips to help motivate your teen without nagging them, and see how much more enjoyable parenting becomes.

We have additional ways to support your teen too!

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Shellie is an Occupational Therapist and Lactation Counselor turned Health Coach. She grew up in Youngstown and moved to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University. Columbus has been her home for the past 25+ years. She has 3 jobs, 1 husband, 3 kids, and 1 fur baby. When she’s not momming or working, she is researching all things related to nutrition and natural health. For that matter, she has an unhealthy relationship with her iPad and is not setting the best example for her kids. Her passion is to help busy moms transform their lifestyles so they can raise strong, healthy and happy families. She blogs about nutrition and natural health at Shelli Bolyard.