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Smart Parenting 2017: How to Teach Responsibility to Your Children

Whenever parents are asked about the traits they like their children to have at present and as adults, one of the most common responses is “to be responsible”. Being responsible have a lot of meanings and they are commonly associated with keeping one’s word, meeting one’s commitments, being dependable, acknowledging mistakes, doing something to one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, and being an asset to one’s family, community, and society. Parents often confuse responsibility with obedience. There are many parents wanting their children to do what they are asked to do, to follow their directions without questioning their authority. But these are not the qualities of being responsible because these are behaviors of being obedient.

It it important for children to develop and exercise ownership for a particular task or chore, and they need to do it because it needs to be done, and eventually they accept that they are obliged to do it. With constant reminder and practice, they may even initiate doing a task over time because it needs to be done and not because they are being told to do so, which is an attitude of being responsible. Parents need to give up their own timetable and how they want things to be done exactly as they want, and allow their child to move from obedience to responsibility at their own pace. It is important to allow your children to do things you ask them to do in their own way so they feel encouraged, having a sense of pride and accomplishment, fostering a sense of responsibility. When considering the transition from obedience to responsibility, there are issues raised about how involved you should be when helping your child meet his commitments and complete tasks.

There are many parents who do not want their children to suffer or fail, so they do so much for their children, and when this happens, they don’t learn to take responsibility by themselves. But there are also some situations wherein our children need our support and guidance for them to learn how to be responsible. It is very important to know how to find balance between under-parenting and over-managing by knowing and deciding when is the most appropriate time to step in, and when is the best time to effectively let your child go to develop his sense of maturity and responsible behaviors. Joining extracurricular activities, keeping a pet such as a butterfly koi or puppy and giving your children household chores or tasks are just some of the things you can ask your children to do in order to develop their sense of responsibility. Being a parent is a lifelong responsibility, and we want to teach our children to be responsible for what they do, and their best role model is us.