Practical and Helpful Tips: Parenting

Smart Parenting 2017: Teaching Responsibility to Your Children

Whenever parents are asked about the traits they like their children to have at present and as adults, one of the most common responses is “to be responsible”. Being responsible have a lot of meanings and they are commonly associated with keeping one’s word, meeting one’s commitments, being dependable, acknowledging mistakes, doing something to one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, and being an asset to one’s family, community, and society. Parents often confuse responsibility with obedience. Most parents would like their children to do what they ask their children to do, to follow instructions and to not question their authority. However these are not the behaviors of being responsible but rather the behaviors of being obedient.

Over time, many parents want their children to accept ownership for a chore or task, and their children do it because it needs to be done, and eventually they accept that it’s their obligation to do it. With practice and constant reminder, children develop a sense of ownership and they may even initiate performing a task over time with constant reminder and practice because it needs to be done and not because they are being told to do so, which is an attitude of responsibility. Parents should know when to give up the things they like and their exact timetable, and allow their child to move from obedience to responsibility basing on their own pace. Allowing a child to freely do on his own way with certain degree of limitation will encourage a feeling of pride and accomplishment, fostering a sense of responsibility. There are several issues raised when considering the transition from obedience to responsibility, about how involved you should be when helping your child meet his commitments and complete tasks.

There are many parents who are afraid that their children suffer the consequences of life’s failure, trials, and challenges so they do so much for their children, and when this happens, they don’t learn to take responsibility by themselves. But there are also some instances when children need the guidance and support of their parents so they can learn the sense of responsibility. It is important to find the balance between under-parenting and over-managing by knowing and deciding the most appropriate time to step in, and when it is more effective to let your children go so they can develop maturity and responsible behaviors. Joining extracurricular activities, keeping a pet such as a butterfly koi or puppy and giving your children household chores or tasks are just some of the things you can ask your children to do in order to develop their sense of responsibility. The best role model when it comes to being responsible for your child is you, so it is important to internalize and assess your own actions and check if you are setting a good example or not.

Supporting reference: wikipedia reference