Good parenting is all about ingraining responsibility in children. Easier said than done, we must know what it takes to gradually get our children to be more responsible. Experts are of the opinion that like everything else, this is also a process and must be started at a young age. It is all about teaching them life skills and as parents, we need to equip them to face the world.
1. Lead In A Positive Manner
Keep your child’s skill level in mind before you give him responsibilities. It can also begin by assigning simple tasks without belittling the task, in fact, it helps if you make the child feel that his contribution is valued and that it is his ‘responsibility’ to complete the job on his own
2. Get Them Involved In Chores
It is a good practice to allocate small duties to children at a young age. For instance, helping set the dinner table, walk the dog, arrange the washed laundry, or tidy up the place before a party. Giving them a chore or a responsibility shows the trust you place in them to complete the job and this will enhance their own confidence and self-worth. If they offer to help you on another instance, do not refuse. You are in effect showing how much you value your child’s contribution in the housework and this will create pride and a sense of ownership.
3. Kids Respond Better To Routine
A routine, timing and structure give them a proper method to follow. This strategy works best for children in terms of taking on responsibilities. Clearly laid out responsibilities and time works best to create a pattern and children, then look forward to performing the task during the time allotted. They know when to relax and do work so there is more clarity.
4. Appreciate And Acknowledge
Praise works wonders. All of us love, praise and it creates a feel good factor associated with the job. Once it is created, kids love to do the job to get appreciated. The pattern formed is positive, so children will associate happiness with the job and will want to repeat it.
5. Responsibility For Actions
Children must be taught about accountability and the consequences of their actions. If they are aware about what a certain action leads to, they will act with more responsibility. Rules work well with kids and needs to be enforced tactfully without negativity. Never resort to nagging as it has a bad effect.
6. Do Not Overdo
Sometimes your child may not do a particular job really well as you expected. Set your expectations, according to the skill-level and age of your child. Even if the job is not done well, point out mistakes in a positive manner. Criticizing will have a negative effect and may put off the child from taking on that responsibility.
7. Create A Habit
Many of our actions get reinforced and form a habit when we do them repeatedly. Talking about the job assigned in a positive manner and portraying ability to solve obstacles along the way inculcates ownership and interest in the kids to do the job well. Positive reinforcement and talking about the job in a manner which represents team work makes a habit of it and before you know your children will do the job without prompting.
8. Avoid Rewards
Appreciation and praise is more than adequate to make the child feel valued, create confidence and build ownership. Rewards have to be sparing and reserved for that odd exemplary display of going beyond expectations on a particular job. Parents assume wrongly, that by rewarding a child often, it makes him more responsible. The impression that “being responsible is part of life and expected of everybody rather than something special that needs rewards”, is the message that must go through to the child. Keep the rewards system for maybe difficult kids who do not respond to praise and need that extra punch to begin.
As parents, you will do yourself a big favour by raising kids that are responsible. Parenting is no easy task and comes with its set of challenges, but the whole journey is as much fun as you want it to be. Never treat it as a problem or a chore, go along the way and raise responsible and accountable kids who will be less of a problem as adults and make your retirement years stress free.