Teaching Middle Schoolers Responsibility: Here’s What to Know

Teaching middle schoolers responsibility is one of the critical factors in their character developmen

Middle school children are at a weird age. They’re still children but on the verge of being teenagers and essentially mini-adults. Children at this age are beginning to come into their own and establish who they are. 

Teaching middle schoolers responsibility is one of the critical factors in their character development. But how do you explain what responsibility is to children of this age and then teach them how to be responsible?

Explaining What Responsibility Is

By the age middle school children are, they’ve probably heard the word responsibility more than once. But do they understand what it means to be responsible? 

The best way to explain what responsibility is to your middle schooler is that responsibility is having accountability for their actions, whatever they may be. 

Explaining to them that taking responsibility crosses different aspects of their lives is important. Whether they didn’t do their homework and received a zero or said something negative about their friend to someone else, teaching them to take responsibility for what they did can help them later on. 

Why it’s Important to Teach Middle Schoolers Responsibility

Teaching middle schoolers to be accountable for their actions will only benefit them as they get older. Being responsible is vital to their success in high school, college, their future careers, and personal lives. 

Ways to Teach Middle Schoolers Responsibility 

If you’re racking your brain trying to think of different ways to instill responsibility in your middle schooler, that’s normal. Here are some simple and effective ways to help teach your middle schooler responsibility. 

Set Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations with your adolescent lets them know exactly what you expect of them. These expectations can be that they clean their room once a week, maintain a certain grade point average, or spend an hour of family time on the weekend. 

Regardless of what your expectations are for your child, letting them know what you’re expecting allows them to make their own choices regarding meeting those expectations. 

They’ll know they’re responsible for keeping their grades up, and if they don’t, there could be a lecture or other consequence in their future. 

Assign Them Chores

Many adolescents have chores they have to complete before they’re allowed to do what they want to do. So assigning a task or two that your middle schooler has to complete before watching TV or hanging out with their friends is the perfect way to teach them responsibility and a very effective one. 

Some of the best chores to assign your middle schooler are ones that directly affect them. These could include cleaning their bedroom or bathroom or doing their own laundry. Not only will these tasks make them more responsible, but they can teach them to be self-reliant. 

When you assign your adolescent chores, it’s important that they know what the consequences are if they don’t complete them by a deadline. For example, if they have plans with their friends on a Friday night but haven’t cleaned their room first, they can’t go. Of course, they’ll be upset that they can’t go, but hopefully, they’ll take it as a learning experience. 

Have Them Volunteer

Volunteering is another fantastic way to teach your middle schooler about responsibility. One of the benefits of having your adolescent volunteer is that it teaches them to be responsible without any financial gain. In addition to gaining responsibility, volunteering is a fantastic way for them to give back to their community. 

Include Them in Household Decision Making

Including your middle schooler in certain household decisions is one way to teach them responsibility without consequences. Bringing them into the conversation about what the family is going to eat for dinner that week or getting their opinions on family vacation allows them to feel responsible for helping make decisions. 

As they age, they’re going to have to make decisions for themself. So, teaching them early that they can do so will help them become more responsible as they get older. 

Encourage Them to Get a Job

Of course, middle schoolers don’t need to work at a traditional job because they’re just kids. But encouraging them to take up babysitting their younger siblings or neighborhood kids can be a great first job to teach them how to be responsible. 

Another small job that middle schoolers can partake in is lawn work for you or neighbors or even tutoring other children. Any of these small jobs let them learn responsibility, and they’ll even earn a little bit of money. 

By taking on more responsibility, they’ll learn how to balance multiple responsibilities such as a small job and school work. 

Final Thoughts

Teaching your middle schooler about responsibility isn’t black and white. It’s shades of gray. What works for one child may not work for another. Whether it’s implementing a chores list, including them in decision making, or having them volunteer or babysit, there’s a number of ways to raise a responsible adolescent. 

It may take some trial and error, but finding ways that work for your middle schooler will set them on the right path to becoming a responsible teenager and eventually a responsible adult. 


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