Smart Parenting 2017: How to Teach 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 may mean different things such as being dependable, keeping one’s word, meeting one’s commitments, doing something to one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, acknowledging mistakes, and being an asset to one’s family, community and society. Parents often associate obedience with responsibility. There are many parents wanting their children to do what they are asked to do, to follow their directions without questioning their authority. However, this is not at all responsibility, these are the qualities of obedience.

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 need to give up their own timetable and how they want things to be done exactly as they want, and allow their child to move from obedience to responsibility at their own pace. If you allow your child to do things you instruct on his own way will encourage a feeling of pride and accomplishment as well as foster a sense of accountability and 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.

Many parents are afraid for their children to fail, and they do much for their children, that’s why many children do not learn to take on the responsibility themselves. On the other hand, there are also times when our children need our guidance and support for them to learn how to be responsible. 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 extracurriculars, keeping a pet such as a butterfly koi, and giving them tasks are just some activities your children can do to develop their sense of responsibility. Being a parent is a lifelong responsibility, and we want to teach our children to be responsible for what they do, and their best role model is us.