When it comes to our kids, some goals related to responsibility might include the following:
- Learning to do what is right for them and others
- Taking care of themselves and others (if it’s necessary)
- Making good decisions for themselves
- Lending a helping hand
- Learning to be financially savvy
- Being in control with their lives
- Learning that any action has a consequence accordingly
So what we should to raise more responsible children?
1. Start young
You can't suddenly spring responsibility on a teenager and expect he will know how to follow through.
Handing out responsibility to kids needs to start early. Think: toddler. Little tasks for themselves first, then other ones more complicated will teach them that their help is needed, but it will also give them a more independent status.
2. Let them help you
Motivate them with tasks they ask for or in which they have interest.
“Ok, you feel like eating pancakes? Great. Let’s do it together”.
“help me finish earlier the cleaning and we will have one more hour in the park”.
3. Explain them the outcomes of their actions
You can start by explaining what you do when you do it.
For example, you can explain when you park why you are not parking on the better spot which is reserved for handicaps.
Every time they will do something helpful, explain them the good outcomes for the planet, others or themselves, depending on the case.
Explain why is important and how you contribute to the cause in the past. Kids need an opportunity to contribute to the common good.
4. Apologize when you make a mistake
Kids already know we make mistakes, so we might as well admit them when we do.
If we own up to our mistakes without blaming someone or something else, we show our children there is no shame in being wrong or falling short, especially when we accept responsibility for it.
5. Focus on what they are doing right
No one is perfect, including our kids.
If they load the dishwasher but you discover that it was only half full at the end of the cycle, still complement them on completing their chores and helping you out. Even if they grudgingly did it, in time, they will begin to take pride in helping and do the job with a better attitude.
6. Be a parent, Act like a friend
Older kids tend to listen to their friends instead of their parents. Acting like a friend with your little ones, you will manage to have their attention and take full advantage of that. Tell them what they need to know, not what they want to hear and learn them that this is what real friends do.