What better way to set the path towards raising a responsible adult than by learning how to start early by raising a responsible child? It’s never too soon to help your child recognize the importance of learning what responsibility is and how it fits into their lives. However, there is a right and wrong way to go about this, which is why parents will want to make sure to broach this topic in the best way possible.
It is important to talk to your child about responsibility and what it means. Of course in order to do that it is vital that the parents themselves understand what this concept is about. Responsibility is more than just being accountable for your actions - it is also about having an opinion and the ability to make decisions. Sometimes parents make the mistake of simply delegating a list of chores and tasks for their kids to do and then rewarding them. While this can surely be a part of the process, for effective results it is better to go deeper. Instead of just giving your child chores to do, explain why each chore is important and how their action in completing each task contributes positively to your household. This will give them a sense of importance and purpose. In addition to receiving whatever reward is given, they will feel good about themselves and be eager to stay on that same course.
To help with instilling a sense of decision making, allow your child to make choices when it comes to the clothes they want to wear, their hairstyle or what they want to eat for lunch when at school. Even if your child’s decisions may make you squirm at first, be supportive and allow them to express themselves.
Patience is going to go a long way for parents dealing with teaching responsibility to their kids. You won’t get results overnight and it is crucial to avoid losing your patience or temper. If your child wants to help you with something that you normally do and would consider a “grown up job,” such as cooking dinner or yard work, allow your child to help instead of brushing them off. The fact that they want to help is a direct sign of them trying to demonstrate responsibility to you, so let them. Even if they don’t do a very good job or if their involvement makes completing the task longer than it usually would, instantly praise them for a job well done. Remember, young children don’t understand the reasons why you want things to be done sooner or why you prefer to do things your way. A little understanding and empathy from your child’s point of view will go a long way in producing the best results.
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