“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” -Galatians 6:5
Responsibility is needed in life, especially in adulthood. But kids need to learn responsibility in their own lives to prepare them for higher education and the rest of their lives (and now, because even 3 year olds have responsibilities).
There are 3 keys to teaching responsibility. They are:
Being accountable is extremely important. People need to be able to trust you and know you are going to be responsible for your own actions.
When trying to explain this to a young child, you could use daily chores or duties. If your 4 year old has to make their bed every morning, then they are accountable for the bed being made. If it hasn’t been made, then we know who didn’t make it.
They have to be answerable. Especially with school aged children, owning up to your actions is essential. If your child doesn’t turn in their homework, then it is their fault and they must take responsibility for that action.
When teaching accountability, it is important to be patient. Kids need time to practice this kind of liability.
Explain that accountability is a good quality in a person. It’s ok if your child struggles at first, but don’t let them test the boundaries too much.
Punishing can be hard. And it is not fun. There are times though, when punishment is necessary.
With consequence, timing is key. When teaching something, you don’t hand out the test first. You explain, practice, and then evaluate.
If your accountable child were to forget their homework once, it might not be that big of a deal, especially if they hold themselves to high standards. But, if your child isn’t very accountable and consistently forgets their homework even after reminders, then consequence is the best step.
A consequence is simply a tool. A learning tool used to promote better choices/behaviors/actions and stop the bad ones. In the case of responsibility, consequences need to be consistent!
A consistent punishment isn’t getting on your child every time they make a mistake. It is setting priorities straight and removing anything that may be a distraction.
If your child doesn’t turn in their homework for the whole week, they may get a game taken away, or they may need to write a note of reminder. Consequences must be kept up with. Don’t say that you will take the video game away for a week and then give it back the next day. Show that responsibility is serious, but doesn’t have to be a pain.
The best way to show how to be responsible is through example.
Your children are always watching you. And that is a great thing! Parents are the best influence on kids!
Make sure you are being responsible! Pay attention to the things you need to get done throughout the day and stay on top of them.
Give your child examples like, “It is my responsibility to pay the water bill every month.” Or “It is my job to pick up my children from school. If I don’t, your teachers would have to drive you to our house.”
Apply real world examples. You are the real world example.
Enjoy the teaching moments in life! Happy Tuesday!