As we get older, we naturally want to take on more roles and responsibilities in our homes and lives. We become more curious, start making our own decisions, and slowly form our behaviors.

One thing a parent or caretaker can do to help us grow and make good, informed choices is to allow us to practice taking on responsibilities while we are still at home.  

 Sharing power is an important part of a family’s structure.  

A caretaker who shares power with a young person in their home might try to offer additional, more challenging chores or even give them the option to choose the chore they want to take responsibility for. Another example of sharing power could be inviting that young person to take part in family discussions and decisions and inviting them to share their opinion. It could also be as simple as asking them to choose a special activity to do over the weekend.  

When adults pass along appropriate responsibilities and decisions to the younger people in the house, they allow them to have a voice and practice independence. When young people make good choices as they are given those opportunities, they can show the adults in their lives that they can make healthy, mature decisions.  

In my family, sharing power means making important decisions together. Usually around dinner time, my parents will suggest that we all go to some local event over the weekend. My sister and I sometimes have a say if we want to go. Sometimes, we go along with our parents even if we don’t want to, just because we want to spend time as a family.  

Another way that we share power in my family is by assigning chores. Every once in a while, my parents will give us a list of chores. We get to choose our chores in a first-come, first-serve fashion. Often, I will try out new chores, and soon enough, I should be capable of doing chores all around the house without needing help.

Sharing chores helps us because I get the opportunity to learn new things and gain my parents’ respect at the same time. The trust we build helps me in the relationship when I need to ask for a favor or just show my parents what I’m capable of doing. 

When my parents include me in decision-making and big responsibilities, I feel happy and connected to them. Even though we usually only vote on minor decisions, it still makes me feel seen. Sharing power makes me more capable around the house and feel like helping preserve our house and the people in it. 

The advice I’d give to anyone who’s struggling to share power in their family is to start small. Asking your parents for smaller responsibilities, such as taking on chores or making dinner once a week, is an excellent way to start. Building trust with your parent or guardian is the first step to building a stronger relationship and should lead to bigger responsibilities in the future. 

Taking on new responsibilities is a great way to earn the trust of the adults in your life. You can try this strategy with your parents, coaches and teachers. If you want to begin practicing sharing power with an adult, try asking them what you can do to take on more responsibility and if there are any opportunities for you to make decisions.  

Moose Landow

Moose L. is a member of the Forward Together Youth Council. He is 14 years old and lives with his family in Denver, Colorado