We’d all like our kids to develop into responsible
people. How can we help to ensure that our kids learn the lessons of
responsibility? Here are some ideas:
1. Start them with tasks when they’re young.
Young kids have a strong desire to help out, even
as young as age 2. They can do a lot more than you think, if you’re
patient and creative. This helps build confidence and enthusiasm for
later tasks in their life.
2. Don’t use rewards with your kids
If you want your kids to develop an intrinsic
sense of responsibility, they need to learn the value of the tasks they
do on a personal level. They won’t learn it if they’re focused on what
they’re going to “get.”
3. Use natural consequences when they make
If they keep misplacing their baseball glove
somewhere, let them deal with the consequences. Perhaps they’ll have to
ask to borrow one for the game. Maybe they’ll have to buy a new one if
it’s lost. If you rescue them every time they screw up, they’ll never
4. Let them know when you see them being
Specifically point out what you like about their
behavior. This will make it more likely to continue to happen.
5. Talk often about responsibility with your kids.
Make responsibility a family value, and let them know it’s important.
6. Model responsible behavior for your kids.
This is where they’ll learn it from. Take care of
your stuff. Try to be on time. Your kids are watching you very closely.
7. Give them an allowance early in their life.
Let them make their own money decisions from an
early age. They’ll learn their lessons in a hurry. Don’t bail them out
if they run out of money.
8. Have a strong, unfailing belief that your kids
are responsible. They’ll pick up on this belief, and they’ll tend to
rise to the level of expectation. And keep believing this, even when
they mess up!
9. Train them to be responsible.
Use role play and talk to them about exactly what
kind of behavior you expect from them. It’s hard for kids to be
responsible when they don’t know what it looks like.
10. Get some help and support for your parenting.
It’s hard to know sometimes whether you’re being
too controlling or too permissive as a parent. Talk to other parents,
read books, join parent support groups, and whatever else will help you
feel like you’re not alone.