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Setting Expectations for Your Teen


Logistics of Life

It’s rare to find a teen who wants to live at home after high school. They want their independence. But asking a teen if they are ready to be on their own will most likely elicit a difference response. Some of the thoughts that might race through their mind include: How much money will I need to live on my own and where will it come from? Where will I live? I don’t have my own car. How will I get around? Who will pay for my internet access? Will my parents help me? I’m a lousy cook. What will I eat?

In addition to loving our children unconditionally, we have a responsibility to help get them ready to launch out on their own. An important element in getting them ready is to set the expectation that they will be leaving home to become visitors to your home!

Setting Expectations & the 1830 Rule

One of the best examples of a parent setting expectations about leaving home was from a military mom with five children. She had an “1830 rule.” It wasn’t about being home at 1830 military time (6:30 p.m.). Very simply, she set the expectation that when they turn 18, they have 30 days to be out of the house and on their own; thus the 1830 rule … a simple easy-to-understand expectation so that she and her children were on the same page well before they turned 18.

It helped motivate them to think about the future and build the needed skills so that they would be ready to leave home, whether off to more education, a job, or whatever they chose. 

Practicing Life Skills – Let’s Eat!

How does that relate to Easter … easy! It provides an opportunity for parents to help their children be ready to answer one of the questions: What will I eat?” How? By spending time together in making the Easter dinner. Ask them what they would like to eat for the Easter dinner. Then:
  • Create a menu, but ask them to write out the list. Use the free template we’ve provided below!
  • Work with them to find the right recipes and make a list of needed ingredients.
  • Shop together for the groceries. They’ll find out the real cost of food!
  • Make the meal together. Give them responsibility for making specific items … from mashed potatoes to biscuits, or dessert. If you have a favorite or family recipe, this would be a great opportunity to share it with them. I’ve never seen a teen turn down an opportunity like this.

1830 and Easter … a great time to share, to bond, to help your teen be ready for their future!



Easy Meal Planner and Shopping List Template for Teens

Meal Planner and Shopping List for teens Workbook

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Rick Stephens

Rick Stephens is a co-founder of Raising Families. With 33 years of experience as a top-level executive at The Boeing Company and having raised four children of his own, he is able to support parents and grandparents by incorporating his knowledge of business, leadership, and complex systems into the family setting.

In his free time Rick enjoys road biking, scuba diving, visiting his grandkids, and generally trying to figure out which time zone he’s in this week. Read full bio >>