How do I teach my young children responsibility?
Bringing Them Up
Dear Bringing Them Up,
Responsibility does not come naturally to any of us! We see examples of that all the way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. If our children are not required to take responsibility for their behavior, we will create adults who expect entitlement and are unwilling to accept correction.
As you train your children, be mindful that you are raising “future adults.”
Responsibility is a quality that needs to be taught. As parents, we should expect it from our kids, not give it as an option. It is one of the most important ingredients of developing maturity. Responsibility will not only teach them discipline but also how to face adversity as they get older.
With young children, give them opportunities to help around the house. Find chores or projects that are appropriate for their age level. Don’t set expectations so high that failure becomes discouraging. Little ones enjoy pleasing Mom and Dad and want to make you proud! Shower them with praise when tasks are finished, while giving correction and guidance in areas they can improve.
By allowing some freedom to fail, children see there is always room for growth. Consequences should be given for tasks that are poorly done or left unfinished. Also consider giving a stronger form of consequence when a child makes excuses. This will emphasize the need to take ownership for poor choices and show the importance of responsibility.
As you train your children, be mindful that you are raising “future adults.” Do your best to equip them with qualities that will mold them into leaders who exhibit outstanding character and high standards of excellence!
Yours in accountability,
“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics.