Teaching Responsibility

Another Parenting Tip from The National Center for Biblical Parenting…
Teaching responsibility is time consuming because it requires practice. It’s sometimes just easier for tired, busy parents to do things themselves. While this may get a job done faster, it doesn’t teach responsibility. What kids often learn is that, if they resist long enough, they won’t have to do it. Or, they develop the opinion that cleaning up around the house is Mom’s job. 

Children can learn to take initiative, but it takes some practice and different cues. By transferring responsibility to kids and then holding them accountable, you’re able to build internal motivation instead of being the parental motivation for your child.

You might establish a cue for your son to help him hold himself accountable by saying something like, "One of the things I know you like to do when you come home from school is get a snack. Maybe it would be good for you to establish a reminder for yourself that says that you need to put your backpack in your room before you can have snack. Then, if I see the backpack on the floor I can just point out that you're having snack and that will be a reminder to you that you haven't taken care of the backpack yet."

When parents draw attention to these kinds of cues, then kids learn to ask questions of themselves and associate the cue with their own personal responsibility. You might say, "I’ve noticed that when you leave the bathroom there are several things left undone. Remember that when you leave the bathroom, you need to turn off the light. When your hand hits that switch, that’s the time to look around and do a responsibility check before you leave the bathroom." All you need to do now is say, "Did I turn off the light in the bathroom?" and that question means a lot more than flipping the switch.

Kids learn responsibility by developing internal motivation systems. Your job, as a parent, is to require them to develop the systems and then hold them accountable to use them.

An effective way to teach responsibility is to require children to report back when the task is complete. In fact, you might find yourself saying regularly, "The job isn’t done until it’s checked." You then can inspect the work, requiring an interruption to your schedule. But if you consistently inspect, then you’ll be able to set a standard for the work.

Jesus illustrated responsibility by using the word "faithful" to describe stewards who were left in charge of talents while the landowner was away. When he returned, he had each steward report back, and then to those who did well he said in Matthew 25:21, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" You might point out in that Bible story that it's the stewards who were faithful that received more privileges. Much like it is in your home each day.

This parenting tip comes from Cultivating Responsibility 
by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, one of the books in our 2nd Quarter Special!

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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