As parents, we’re always pushing, aren’t we? As soon as a child can do something for herself, we stop doing it for her, encouraging her development. But sometimes we can push and prod too much. When our teens regularly demonstrate responsibility, it’s okay to reward them once in a while. Actually, it’s more than okay.
If your teen is faithful about getting up on time, making his bed, getting dressed, packing his own lunch, and cleaning up after himself, you are truly blessed! Instead of insisting that it’s reasonable to expect that kind of behavior, you can be thankful for the blessing of a faithful, disciplined teen.
Perhaps you could “do good” (Proverbs 3:27) to your son by writing him a thank you note with a coupon for a free week of sack lunches or a meal at Pizza Hut, or you could surprise him with some favorite treats already packed to go when he comes to the kitchen.
When children are faithful in keeping up with their responsibilities, it makes good sense (and Scriptural sense! Matthew 25:21) to honor them with more. Of course, it would be unfair to burden a young person unnecessarily with management of the entire household, but giving increasing amounts of responsibility and privilege are certainly fitting rewards.
If your daughter has regularly brought the family car home on time, with the gas tank full, then perhaps she has earned the privilege of having her own vehicle.
Some kids want to stay home at even the slightest sniffle, while others are willing to tough it out—the same is true, of course, of employees. Perhaps you have one child with each tendency. Out in the work-a-day world, many employers are moving toward a total number of “leave days,” including those used for vacation, illness, and other personal reasons.
Some schools are going the same direction. If your school allows for planned absences, you could reward your responsible daughter by giving her a “personal day” each semester or each year, a special time for you to do something fun together or just hang out at home!
I remember when my parents bought me my first car and then told me how much I owed them. I would have preferred a junker, but since I was attending college several states away, they wouldn’t allow me to have something unreliable. The thought of payments was a daunting one, but I found a way to make it happen and faithfully paid down my debt to them.
The week I moved out on my own, they handed me the title. They’d been planning all along to give me the car at that point, so long as I did my part. By requiring that I make payments faithfully, they taught me a valuable life skill and then rewarded me for it. Even if you can’t afford to forgive a debt or match your child’s savings, you can praise them for their efforts.