Teaching your child to be responsible is one of the most important things that you can do as a parent, and it is not always the easiest. Children sometimes become resistant to actually taking steps to become responsible and this can cause frustration for you as a parent.
In order for what you are doing to be effective, you need to know the steps to take in order to make sure that your child develops into a responsible adult. Here is a look at what you need to do to accomplish this goal.
Accountability Begins Early
One of the best things you can do is teach your child responsibility at a very young age. For example, young children should know that they need to pick up after themselves. You can even begin giving them checklists of things they need to accomplish before they can get certain privileges.
Giving your children small responsibilities early on in life will teach them to be reliable. Be strategic about the tasks you give them so that they will learn specific responsibilities. Thinking about your child’s strengths and weaknesses should help you come up with the right tasks.
Set an Example
Perhaps the most important thing that you need to do when teaching your child about responsibility is to be responsible yourself. Make sure your child sees that you keep your word and takes your responsibilities seriously.
Never make any promises that you are unable to keep, whether to your child or another adult.
Tell Your Child the Truth
Sometimes telling them the hard truth is the best thing you can do for your child. They need to know the reality of what happens in the world when they are irresponsible.
For example, if your pre-teen or teenager has started to drink because they’re experimenting, you need to be candid with them about how alcoholism can get them in trouble with the law and discuss how it can ravage their health.
Answer any questions they may have such as, “How long does alcohol stay in the body?” or “How much time can you get in jail for drunk driving?”. These are just examples, your teen may have other questions.
Consequences and Rewards
You must ensure that there are clear consequences and rewards for behavior. Whenever you give your child a reward you should let them know why you are rewarding them.
Whenever you have to give out punishment you should also let them know that it is a consequences of a specific action. Always be clear about why you are giving rewards or punishments.
Getting It Right
When you teach your children about responsibility early, as they grow older you will be able to trust them and they will start making good decisions on their own. This is your ultimate goal as a parent.
You want your children to be able to function in the world without you constantly looking over their shoulder. Raising a healthy and responsible adult begins in childhood so take the time to do it right.