One of the biggest problems in today’s society is the lack of taking responsibility, especially in regard to the younger generations. When individuals fail to be responsible for their actions, life tends to become more chaotic. For this reason, it’s important to make sure parents are ready to teach their children how to take responsibility for their words and actions, as well as the way they live their lives.
What Is Responsibility?
Before learning how to teach your child to be responsible, it’s important to define responsibility and determine how it impacts their lives. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the responsibility definition is listed as “something that you should do because it is morally right, legally required, etc.” Another definition states responsibility is the state of causing something to happen. In either case, it’s important for children to realize they must be accountable for their words and actions in order to make a positive impact on the world around them.
The most important thing to remember when thinking about responsibilities and how they relate to your children is anyone can be responsible for their actions. This means it’s important to start training your child along this path as early as possible. Because taking responsibility is a learned behavior, it’s up to parents to make sure their children are trained in a way that makes them more productive members of society. Without this training, children often become entitled and feel as if everything should be handed to them.
What Can You Expect from Your Children
Before you start teaching your children about responsibility, it can be valuable to determine what they can handle at their given age. This answer isn’t the same for every age group or even every child. Some children are able to accept more responsibilities at a younger age than others. The main thing is to evaluate the abilities of your own child and determine what he or she can handle. As he or she handles what you’ve given them, you can move on to give them more things for which they can take responsibility. If something proves to be too much, consider removing the challenging task and give it back at a future date.
Choose Age-Appropriate Tasks
The first step is to consider what your child is capable of handling. Choosing age-appropriate tasks will ensure you set your child up for success instead of increasing the chances of failure. If you set your child up to fail, he or she will have a more difficult time grasping the concept of responsibility and may be unwilling to do his or her part.
While you may think a young child is incapable of helping in any capacity, there are simple tasks even the youngest children can handle as soon as they learn how to walk. For instance, a toddler can be responsible for picking up his own toys, removing his dishes from the table and even making his bed. Older children can help with more chores around the house, such as caring for pets, clearing the table, filling or emptying the dishwasher, cleaning their rooms, dusting and more. Once your child masters one task, consider adding another. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t overwhelm your child.
Create a Reward System
One of the most difficult elements of teaching rights and responsibilities is showing your child the value in taking responsibility for their words and actions. Children are often eager to get to the fun part of their day and don’t want to take care of their chores and other responsibilities. When your child is excited to visit their favorite park or participate in another activity, remind him it’s best to take care of the chores first and have fun later so nothing is hanging over their heads.
Time management is an important element of personal responsibility. Some people have a tendency to be late, regardless of what they do. They may not realize how much it affects other people when they aren’t on time. For this reason, it’s important to teach your child to be responsible with his time. Today’s children have homework but they still want to spend time with their friends and playing video games.
One way you can introduce the concept of time management is to use the reward system to your advantage. For instance, every time your child completes a chore you’ve assigned, give your child a specified amount of screen time, such as on the computer, a gaming system or even television. The more tasks your child does without complaining, the more time they will have. However, it’s also important to set time limits to keep your child healthy and active in other parts of their lives.
Another area where many children are lacking a sense of responsibility is in their money management. When children receive money, they are often quick to want to spend it. While it’s important to teach children about the cost of items and how to decide the best way to spend their money, it’s also crucial to make sure they know how to save. When they grow up, a lack of responsibility in terms of money can lead to serious debt problems and even poverty. Therefore, the best way to set your child up for success in life is to talk about money and the best way to use it responsibly.
Eliminate the Blame Game
If you’ve ever dealt with children who are in trouble, you likely have encountered the blame game at one point or another. When you confront a child about something, they are often quick to blame their actions or words on someone else. For instance, they may claim so-and-so “made me do it.” This is a good opportunity to have a talk about personal responsibility. Everyone has a choice in the way they act or talk to others. It’s important to make sure your child understands his actions and words will have consequences. If he makes a bad choice, the results will be negative. However, if he makes the right decision, he will be rewarded.
Make It a Positive Experience
The best way to ensure your child is ready to become a responsible adult, it’s important to make sure the entire experience is positive. If your child doesn’t feel like you are appreciative of his efforts or you are overly critical of his efforts, you won’t be creating the positive environment your children need to grow and succeed. The more positive the experience, the more likely your child will carry what he has learned into adulthood.
Remember, responsibility should never be a burden. If you make it difficult for your child to be responsible for their actions, you are setting them up for failure later in life. There’s no reason why children should feel as if they are entitled to anything in life. If parents instill a sense of responsibility in their children, they are doing their children a favor, as well as everyone they encounter in their daily lives.
Many individuals have had a lot to say about responsibility. Some of these quotes can be a great way to instill a sense of responsibility in your children and help them see the importance of responsibilities in daily life.
- Les Brown, a motivational speaker and author, states, “If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.”
- Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, eloquently stated, “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
- Martin Luther King Jr., a champion of human rights, wanted children to know that “The time is always right to do what is right.”
- Louis Nizer, a well-known American lawyer, is notably remembered as making a statement that shows individuals the errors of blame. He’s quoted as saying, “When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself.”
- Even notable fictional characters, such as Peter Parker (also known as Spiderman) and Voltaire have been attributed as saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Sharing these and other responsibility quotes with your children can help ensure they get the message and are ready to make a real difference in the world.
If you want your children to become productive members of society who are able to take responsibility for their words and actions, as well as the way their lives go, it’s important to start from an early age. Responsibility isn’t something children are naturally born with. It’s up to you to instill it in your children and make sure they understand the consequences of their actions and how to effectively manage their time and other resources. This is truly one of the best gifts you can give to your children. You will set them up for a lifetime of happiness by providing the tools they need to make the right decisions in their lives, from childhood until the end of their lives.