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 associate obedience with responsibility. Most parents instruct their children to follow their directions without questioning their authority. But these are not the qualities of being responsible because these are behaviors of being obedient.
It is important for children to accept ownership for a chore or task because it needs to be done, and eventually they accept that they are obliged to do it. With constant reminder and practice, they may even initiate doing a task over time because it needs to be done and not because they are being told to do so, which is an attitude of being responsible. Parents may need to give up their own exact timetable and how they like things to be done, and allow their children to move from being obedient to being responsible according to on their own pace. It is important to allow your children to do things you ask them to do in their own way so they feel encouraged, having a sense of pride and accomplishment, fostering a sense of responsibility. When considering the transition from obedience to responsibility, there are issues raised 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 situations wherein our children need our support and guidance for them to learn how to be responsible. It is very important to know how to find balance between under-parenting and over-managing by knowing and deciding when is the most appropriate time to step in, and when is the best time to effectively let your child go to develop his sense of maturity and responsible behaviors. In order to develop their sense of responsibility, it is important to allow your child to join extracurricular activities, keep a pet such as a butterfly koi or puppy, and give your children household chores or tasks. 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.