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Good Parenting 2017: How to Teach Responsibility to Your Children

When parents are asked about the traits they would like their children to have, one of the most common answers is to be responsible. There are many meanings of being responsible such as keeping one’s word, meeting one’s commitments, being dependable, 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 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. But these are not the qualities of being responsible because these are 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.

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. But there are also some situations wherein our children need our support and guidance for them to learn how to be responsible. It is essential to find the balance between under-parenting and over-managing by deciding the most critical and appropriate time to step in, and the time when it is best to let your child go so he 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.

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