Responsibility is the motivation you use to go to work, clean your home or even balance your checkbook but how do you pass that on to your children? . Since children aren’t born with responsibility it must be taught. It can be easy if you start early and stay firm in your objective.
Children learn a lot by example, so showing them responsibility is a wonderful way to start. However, showing them is only a start. After you child is old enough to understand simple phrases like yes and no the lesson can continue. Little things like teaching them to put their own toys away in a basket or toy box is a good beginning. Keeping them in a scheduled routine will also help them understand what is expected of them.
The older your child gets the more the lessons should increase. While you child is young it is usally a pretty easy task because he/she will love to help you. Things tend to change as they reach around five or six and they will start making it a bit difficult. Don’t give in to them no matter how many times they tell you that you are mean or don’t love them because you make them clean their room. Remember you are a parent not their best friend and if you love them you will teach them.
By this age they should have a daily chore (not including their room) they are expected to do without being told or reminded. I started with little things like making sure the dogs are fed or empting all the little trash cans around the house. This helps to teach them being responsible for a certain task. You can use reward charts, allowance or special rewards at the end of the week for doing the job correctly but don’t rewards them for half shotty jobs. A job worth doing is a job worth doing well.
At this stage a set routine will also help you and your child stay on track especially during the school season. I have a schedule on the wall for my children so they always know what is expected of them. Otherwise, you may finding them standing aimless in front of the T.V. or video game with the reason that they didn’t know they were suppose to be doing anything. Schedules include from getting up in the morning to brushing their teeth before bed at night.
When they reach pre-teen stages you will probably want to pull your hair out. I know you think all the work you have done from the beginning didn’t mean a thing but that is not true. Your child still has it all wired inside them but at this age they think ( the key word is think) they know everything now. I also call ages 10 thru 14 the lazy stage because all the children seem to hit it and want to do nothing but have fun. However, just remember if you give in now you will be still washing their clothes when they are in their thirties.
Now you have made it to the upper teens maybe with a few more grays then you would like but hey they didn’t make hair dye for nothing. This area gets a bit tricky because your childs mind it developing and they love to banter with every rule you have. Some times you might even have a hard time with a good come back but just remember that the phrase “because I said so” didn’t become popular for nothing.
Now its time to start urging you teen towards a part-time job. Yep, I said it, a job. Some parents don’t like to presser their children about jobs until they graduate but I have found that waiting may not help you child. Yes, they have school but they are almost adults and need to know how to handle several things at once. Not to mention they probably have more energy than you do by now. Think about how much you have to accomplish everyday with work, children, home, pets and meals. This is just another step in the world of responsibility.
After graduation I suggest you throw yourself a huge party. Even though you job is never over because you will always be a parent no matter how old they get. Its still a major accomplishment that you have reached and you should pat yourself on the back for being such a superb parent then sit back and watch your children succeed with the skills you taught them!