What are Responsibilities?

As we get older and become adults, we begin to have more choices about where we want to go, what we want to do, and how we want to live our lives. But we are also expected to be more independent and do more things for ourselves. These expected behaviours are called responsibilities.

My Responsibilities as an Adult

There will be many new responsibilities to prepare for as you get ready to leave school. These responsibilities include:

Taking care of your own space and items.

Whether you live on your own, with family, or friends, you will need to tidy your home and carefully put things where they belong. Keeping a tidy home and taking care of your own items will help make sure things don’t get lost or broken.
You are taking care of your home when you:

  • Put things where they belong
  • Cook and clean up afterwards
  • Shop for and put away groceries
  • Clean and put away laundry
  • Put out rubbish and recycling
  • Feed pets

Managing your money.

You will need to make sure the money you get each week, or each month, is enough to cover the most important expenses. Making good decisions about how to spend your money means that you will have the things you really need to live, like housing, food, and utilities so that you have lighting, phone service, and heat in the home.
We will talk a lot more about managing money in the next section.

Managing your time.

As a child and teenager, much of your time would have been spent at school, and your time spent at home was probably often scheduled for you. Your parents or another adult may have helped you plan visits with friends, made sure you got to the cinema on time, and organized appointments like visiting the doctor. 

As an adult, you will need to take more responsibility in planning your calendar and daily schedule. You will have more choices about what to do in your free time, but you will also need to plan time to do the things that need to be done; like work, studying or chores.

Treating people with Respect.

Respect is an important part of getting along with others, having friends, and other relationships. When you respect people and treat them well, they feel safe and happier to be around you.
We can show respect by:

  • Listening to others when they speak
  • Not intentionally causing harm
  • Helping others
  • Not using or taking other people’s things without permission
  • Keeping spaces tidy and clean
  • Using kind and thoughtful words
  • Doing what you said you will

Being a good citizen & obeying the law.

As an adult, we also have responsibilities to all of the people around us, including those we don’t know but who live near us. These are very important responsibilities called laws, that are there to make sure everyone is safe and well. Breaking a law can get you in trouble with the police or gards.
There are many, many laws, but some of the most important ones for you to remember are:

  • Do not harm anyone
  • Do not threaten to harm anyone
  • Do not enter a persons  home or business without permission
  • Do not steal
  • Do not drive without a license
  • Do not force anyone to do something they do not want to do

Many people use computers, tablets, and smart phones to keep in touch, and share pictures and information. It is important to
remember that there are also laws about what we do and say online and in texts. For example, you must not:

  • Threaten to cause physical harm to others
  • Post comments that will cause emotional harm
  • Share inappropriate pictures 
  • Use computers to access certain types of information


As an adult, you will have the freedom to make many important decisions. This is very exciting, but is also a very big responsibility because some of these decisions can have a very big impact on your life.

Small or Minor Decisions

Every day, you will make decisions about things that probably won’t make a huge difference in your life. This might include:

  • what to wear
  • what to make for dinner
  • which movie to watch at the cinema
  • where to grocery shop

Big or Major Decisions

Big decisions are the ones that impact many different parts of your life and will stick with you for a long time. Big decisions might include:

  • Where to live
  • Whether to start further education or look for work
  • Making a big purchase (e.g. computer, or maybe 
  • even a car) 
  • Starting or ending a romantic relationship

Making Big Decisions

We always hope that we will stay happy with the decisions we make, but sometimes the decisions we make can have unwanted or harmful effects. So, it is important to think carefully about these big decisions and get help when we need it from people we trust.
When making big decisions, it can be helpful to:

List all the options you can think of

  1. For each option, list all of the possible reasons why it might be a good idea. What good things might happen if you make that decision.
  2. For each option, list all of the possible reasons why it might not be a good idea. What bad or unhelpful things might happen if you make that
  3. decision.
  4. Review all of the possible effects. Think about what is most important to you and decide whether you are ok if the possible bad things happen.  Remember, this does not mean that the bad things will happen, you just need to be ok if they do.

It can also be very helpful to talk to family, friends, or other adults that you know well and trust. But you should never feel that someone is trying to persuade you, or bully you in to making a certain choice. Remember, YOU must feel good about the decision.

Also, know that it is OK to change your mind.

Setting Goals

Sometimes, big or important decisions may require time or many steps to actually make happen, so it can be very helpful to set a goal and make a plan. A goal is just a clear statement of something you want to do or achieve.

For example, if you decide you want to be healthier and feel better, you might set goals to:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink 8 glasses of water each day
  • Exercise 3-5 days per week

Other goals might require much more thought and planning. For example, you may decide that you want to want to get a job working in a restaurant. So, your long-term goal is ‘to get paid employment working at least 20 hours per week in a restaurant.’

But getting a job involves many different skills and behaviours. You will need to:

  • Decide what role you want, or what would best suit you (e.g. cooking, cleaning, interacting with customers)
  • Have the skills needed to do the job (e.g. cook,  wash dishes, know how to safely operate any equipment)
  • Complete applications and job interviews 
  • Get along well with others in the workplace
  • Get to and from work

When you look at this list, you may realise that you need to set other, more immediate goals related to travel or learning job-related skills.

When you take time to make a plan, it helps you make short-term goals that can be achieved right now. If we only think about the end goal, sometimes it may feel like it will never happen. If we break it down to smaller steps or short-term goals, it can help us stay positive and keep going until we get to our end goal.
It can also be very helpful to talk to family, friends, or other adults that we know well and trust.