But, you also know that over the last couple of years, I have become extremely frustrated with my eldest, Riley. Getting her to do her chores or any of her household responsibilities has been like pulling teeth. She's terribly responsible when it comes to school assignments and keeping up with her personal projects. But, we have to nag her daily: Are these your socks?, Please put away the dishes?, Text us your location so we know where you are.
And, on top of that, when she comes home, she disappears into her room, shuts the door, and comes out to grab food, then back to her room she goes to do school work, watch YouTube or interact with her Star Trek communicator (she calls it a cell phone).
We've tried family dinners where we catch up with one another, lists of responsibilities via the book Duct Tape Parenting, and taking away driving privileges until she takes care of her responsibilities.
Nothing has seemed to work, and my wife and I are partly to blame. We should have been a bit tougher earlier. Now, it's hard to back track, but we haven't given up.
Riley's senior year of high school has her out of class by noon each day. So, she suddenly has all of this extra time, and she's decided to fill it by taking dance classes, doing extra school projects, volunteering at two children's centers, and taking a part-time dance choreography job.
She came home two weeks ago and something incredible happened; she tells me, "I'm basically a grown up," and goes on to tell me about her day: first she got to school early for a project, then right after school she came home and made a quick bite to eat, then headed off to volunteer, got back home to work on her homework, then went to her job. She told me there was so much to take care of.
Of course I wanted to tell her, "Hello! Welcome to our world," but instead I acknowledged how much she'd done, and on top of it all, the dishes had been put away. It's been like this since then. She sends her location without asking. She spends more time with the family. And, her room even looks presentable.
I think she needed responsibility on her terms, because once she filled her schedule with what was important to her, she found places in her schedule to be responsible for what is importance to us. My little girl is truly growing up.