Part of a parents job is to teach their child responsibility. As with any life lesson, it’s not a one-shot deal.
In order to teach a child responsibility, the parent has to be consciously aware of the behavior they are trying to cultivate in their children.
There are methods of teaching children responsibility; however, they all come down to the same thing, a child cannot behave responsibility if they do not know what responsibility is and what behaviors are responsible.
What Responsibility Means for a Child
The first step is to teach the child what responsibility means. Parents are responsible not because they want to be but because they reach a point in your life where there are obligations and people counting on them.
Responsible behavior in adults is so natural it seems like they were born that way.
That’s not the case.
Responsibly is cultivated from the time they were children through their teen years and eventually into adulthood. Children have to go through the same process of learning about responsibility.
Have a Conversation:
Talk to your children… have a conversation about what they are responsible for and why. Consider all the things that you want the children to be responsible for.
It can be a little overwhelming for a child that doesn’t understand why they have to do it.
Discuss with the children why these are the things that are important. Make sure they understand that not living up to their obligations has consequences. Whether it’s a bad grade, a sick pet, or being grounded.
Each time the child asks for something that will be a new responsibility to remind them what that new responsibility will entail.
Whenever possible teach by example. Talk to your children about what your responsibilities are and how their own relates to yours.
Reminders Are Important
Reinforce responsible behaviors. Any time the child behaves responsibly without having to be reminded, it’s a small victory for the parents. Find ways of rewarding good behavior even if it’s just a sticker on aboard.
Find punishments for irresponsible behavior. It doesn’t have to be a harsh punishment, however, it should fit the behavior. This is part of the consequences of irresponsible behavior.
When children realize not doing what they are supposed to be doing, it will have negative effects on them. They learn what responsible behavior is much quicker.
Explain to your children what you expect from them. If you expect them to clean their room tell them so. Don’t just expect them to understand what you want without making it clear.
A few of the things that teach children to be responsible include homework, chores, pets, and to teach financial responsibility a savings account works well.
It might seem like you only have to tell them a few times, however, as with any lesson the key to having them truly learn it is repetition.
When teaching your children to be responsible, remember that children have a way of forgetting what they are supposed to be doing so frequent reminders will help them get into the habit of behaving responsibly… and that’s a lesson we want to teach.