Amy Carney is a mum to five (including teenage triplets) and author of Raising Kids without regret.

Amy believes we all need to walk away from doing these 8 things for our teenagers by the time they turn 13!

1. Waking them up in the morning
Amy says, “If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, it’s time to let an alarm clock do its job.”

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch
Amy adds, “My job is only to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast and pack themselves a lunch.”

3. Filling out their paperwork
Amy shares, “Our teens are expected to fill out all of their own paperwork, to the best of their ability. They put the papers to be signed on a clipboard and leave it for me on the kitchen island. I sign them and put them back on their desks.”

She believes we need to hold teens accountable. “They will need to fill out job and college applications soon and they need to know how to do that without your intervention.”

4. Delivering their forgotten items
Amy explains, “Parents don’t miss opportunities to provide natural consequences for your teens. Forget something? Feel the pain of that. Kids also get to see, that you can make it through the day without a mistake consuming you.”

Amy says they have a rule that Mum and Dad are not to get pleading texts from school asking for forgotten items. “It still happens, but we have the right to just shoot back “that’s a bummer.”

5. Making their failure to plan your emergency
“School projects do not get assigned the night before they are due. Therefore, I do not run out and pick up materials at the last minute to get a project finished. I do always keep poster boards and general materials on hand for the procrastinating child. But, other needed items, you may have to wait for”, explains Amy.

6. Doing all of their laundry
“What? YOU didn’t get my shorts washed? This response always backfires on the kid who may lose their mind thinking that I’m the only one who can do laundry around here. Every once in awhile a child needs a healthy reminder that I do not work for them.” Harsh?

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches
“If our child has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to take it to the one in charge. There is no way that we, as parents, are going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authority figure and our child”, says Amy.

8. Meddling in their academics
Amy begs, “put the pencil down parents. Most of the time, I honestly couldn’t tell you what my kids are doing for school work. We talk about projects and papers over dinner, but we’ve always had the expectation for our kids to own their work and grades.

At times, they’ve earned Principals Lists, Honor Rolls and National Junior Honor Society honors on their own accord. At other times, they’ve totally missed the mark.”

I must admit I struggle with a few of these and would not expect my 13 year old son to do a few of these himself, especially emailing teachers and completing paperwork, we do encourage him to chat to his teacher about any problems but I will make contact on his behalf IF that is what he wants. Does that make me a softy though? I think it just means I care?

Do you agree?

Find more from Amy on Facebook or her blog www.amycarney.com

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  • Some of these are in the ‘it depends…’ category.
    Great list to keep in mind :)


  • I think some of these depend. Being a stay at home Mum I happily got the teens breakfast on weekdays when they were rushing around getting ready to head to school and I also packed their lunch. Sometimes I would also pack their lunches when they went to Uni but only if I had nothing else to do that morning. I was happy to do this and my kids always said thank you. I cant remember a time when they ever contacted me to say that they had forgotten something but if they had I would have happily helped them out and delivered the forgotten item. I feel this would only be an issue if it was a constant problem. I also did all their laundry. I do the washes on a saturday and its everyones responsibility to have their dirty clothing in the hamper. If its not there then they have to wait another week before it will be washed. We do not do extra loads as thats a waste of water.

    I do think think that we need to remember that if we are lucky we will be old one day and our children will be the ones looking after us. If I treat my children with respect now I hope that they will treat me with respect when im old.


  • I agree wholeheartedly – think my kids were responsible before 13 and they are all doing great these days.


  • Ooh, 13 is so far away from my children, I can’t imagine them being independent yet!. I agree with some of the other comments that number 7 is important to be involved with particularly with recent court cases.


  • I do agree with some of these. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


  • I totally agree with all of these. They are all great ideas. I actually used to wake my mum up half the time as she would sleep through her alarm clock and to this day I am really good at waking up. I would also add to this- let you teen get a job as soon as they are old enough so that they can start learning responsibility and they can start saving and buying things for themselves like those shoes that you think are just a bit too expensive.


  • I do support a lot of these however, each teenager is different. My son has Aspergers and is in Year 12 so we have additional challenges and issues. Whilst he had made his lunch until end of Year 10, a really tough year last year meant I took back that minor chore for him. Making his lunch just relieves something from his day/night. I also do his laundry and always have. When Year 12 finishes, we will revisit and change responsibility for these chores.


  • I do most things here but I must admit, I still pack lunches, but only because I have to do 3 other young childrens lunches and what’s one more!!! Also, I’m worried she many not eat anything (I was guilty of that all though my school years)


  • yeah i agree with these except number 7. you should be aware of the communications between the student and their teachers/adults in their life. This is still your responsibility, not theirs. Even in regards to part time jobs, you still need to be involved and be aware of how they are doing in their job


  • Things a parent should take to the school if they are forgotten is their glasses and medications (especially if it can be a serious, even life threatening situation)
    You may have forgotten to get the prescription filled. Most pharmacies will not supply school age pupils with medications, even if they are teenagers.


  • Some very good points !


  • I still fill out their forms but everything else they have done for years, they even packed their own preschool lunchboxes


  • I think there are situations where parents should be the ones communicating with teachers. On the other hand, even my four year old helps with her lunch and gets some f her breakfast. Although we have ade that easier with things like cereal dispensers.


  • Ops! I am guilty of still a lot of stuff. I’m a stay at home mum, so for me it’s normal that I still do my daughter’s laundry for example. She has an alarm clock, but ten minutes after it rings, I go and check that my daughter is awake. I still prepare her breakfast and her lunch box. But I was in hospital last week for a couple of nights, and she managed without me. So I am sure that if the need arises, she will be able to do stuff I generally do for her. :-)


  • Its definitely the time for kids to learn to be self sufficient adults. But thats just it. They’re learning. The do still need help.

    • Totally agree, it is all a learning curve even as an adult at times!


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