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Smart 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. 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 responsibility with obedience. Most parents instruct their children to follow their directions without questioning their authority. However these are not the behaviors of being responsible but rather the 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 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. 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.

There are many parents who do not want their children to suffer or fail, 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. 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.

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