Responsible people inspire trust and confidence. They are achievers and lead life with integrity and honor
. But no one is born responsible. As a parent you can teach your child to live responsibly:
- Catch them young: Start giving responsibilities to your child as early as possible. If you are waiting for your child to reach a teenager and then delegate work, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Your child will be too grown up to appreciate and take responsibility. Start giving responsibility to children as young as toddlers.
- Make chores fun: No one likes doing chores. Period. So when your child is young, engage him/her by making chores fun. It will take more time to finish the chores but it is worth the effort. Eventually, he/she will come to love making contributions to the household and will feel valued.
- Delegate smartly: Try to give chores according to your child’s skill level. Even if it is just putting the plate in the sink for wash or putting the dirty clothes in the laundry bag. Let them know it’s their responsibility so they feel important and grown-up.
- Praise: There is something magical about praise. It works every time and with every child. Do not criticize them if they haven’t folded their clothes properly or made their bed nicely. What’s important is they accept their responsibility. Praise them and then show them how you make your bed or fold your clothes. They will catch up soon. (make your child responsible.
- Responsibility is not equal to reward: Do not condition your child to think that fulfilling a responsibility entitles them to a reward. You are teaching them to take responsibility so they can flourish in life. Save rewards for tasks your child does beyond what is expected from him/her.
- Structure the responsibilities: Let your child know what is expected from him/her every day. Set a routine of responsibilities such as, once they are back from school, they have to put their shoes in place, wash their hands, eat lunch and then watch TV. So watching TV is not a reward for completing earlier tasks but a result of completing a routine.
- Reinforce cause and effect: Enlighten your child on the consequences of not fulfilling a responsibility. For instance, if your son does not collect his Lego after playing, he will misplace the pieces and ruin the toy. If you collect his toys for him, you are ensuring he does not learn his responsibilities and does not take your word seriously (make your child responsible)
- Teach them to organize: As children grow up they will have more and more chores, studies, and responsibilities to deal with. So help them plan ahead. This also ensures they do not make excuses for why they could not fulfill a responsibility. It will make it easy for them to prioritize and accomplish a lot, now and as adults.
- Teach accountability towards people: Kids often say harsh things to siblings or friends without understanding their impact. Teach your child empathy and that they have to take responsibility for hurting someone by making amends.
- Don’t be their eternal shield: Many parents today want to give their children the advantage that they may not have had growing up. They are often outraged when their child is held to account for their actions by teachers or anyone else. Instead of teaching their child to accept responsibility for their actions, they teach or allow their child to blame others and victimize themselves. Their intention is to exempt their child from any unpleasant experiences. However, if your child has never had to toughen it out in the minor challenges of life how will he/she deal with the real world as an adult? So let them face the music if they have earned it. Let them be accountable and understand the importance of responsibility. (make your child responsible)
With power, comes responsibility. We, parents, have enormous power and therefore the gargantuan responsibility to equip our children with strength of character and a responsible attitude. So let’s set an example for them and lead the way.