How To Teach Your Children About Responsibility

In order to raise your children to become responsible adults, you have to teach them about responsibility.

HOUSEHOLD CHORES

Giving your children household chores is a great way to teach them responsibility. Also, they will learn basic skills for their future, when they are running a household of their own. If children are not given responsibilities around the home, they will never learn to rely on themselves. When they get out into the real world, they will live with a sink full of dirty dishes and a bedroom floor decorated with dirty laundry. You should make a checklist of duties for your children, rather than just making a verbal agreement. This way, there is no confusion about what they were supposed to do (kids will often try to get out of chores unless they are clearly defined). For children who are between the ages of five and ten years old, you should keep your list very simple and basic. They should be responsible for putting their toys back in the toy box after they use them. They could also help you to set the table by putting out the silverware and napkins (not the dishes and glasses"¦ that is an accident waiting to happen). For children between the ages of ten and thirteen years old, you should increase the workload slightly. They can help with the family pet by cleaning the cat's litter box or feeding the dog in the morning. They could start learning how to do the dishes (or load the dishwasher). You don't have to ask them to do the dishes everyday; you might just consider assigning them two or three days a week to do them. Children over the age of thirteen can handle even more. They should learn how to mow the lawn, do their own laundry, and walk the dog, vacuum, dust, and even cook. Again, you do not need to ask that they do these things everyday. After all, they have school and friends to juggle as well. The point is not to turn your kid into maids; it is simply to teach them that all members of a family contribute to a household.

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

Good behavior deserves mention. Your children are always going to be seeking your approval, even if you give it to them all the time. It is a natural part of growing up. However, you can minimize their anxiety by letting them know that you are appreciative of their efforts around the house and elsewhere. If your child is diligent about doing chores, you should be sure to reward the positive behavior. For one, you should give them an allowance, and consider giving annual or semi-annual raises. Second, you should reward responsibility with privileges. For example, you might extend the Friday night curfew, or you might let your child host a small party (chaperoned by you, of course). They will learn that responsibility leads to increased trust.

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS

One of the most important responsibilities that children have is their school work. Basically, school is their job. So, a job well done should be celebrated. You might have heard from your children that some of their schoolmates are rewarded with money for good grades. That is one way to go, but you could also try to be a little more creative. Take your child out for dinner at their favorite restaurant, and make a toast to their hard work. Write your child a letter, telling them how proud you are. You would be surprised how about just how much that will really touch your child. You could also take a trip to an amusement park, or let them help you pick out a vacation destination for the summer. This will help them to become a responsible worker.



VOLUNTEER WORK

Volunteer work can make your child become a well-rounded and compassionate adult. They will be able to see people less fortunate than themselves. You could start out simple, like by having your child gather some old clothes and toys that they don't use anymore to donate to good will. You could go with your child to volunteer for Meals on Wheels, or to work at a local homeless shelter serving food. Once they get the hang of it, let them decide what type of charity work they feel the most compelled to engage in. They might prefer to work at a local animal shelter, or they might want to volunteer at a retirement community. Charity work will help to make your child a responsible member of your community, and they will see that they can make a difference in the world and in the lives of others. Plus, charity work looks great on college applications.

BANK ACCOUNT

Financial responsibility comes with practice. Hence, you do not want your child to be oblivious to the intricacies of maintaining a savings and checking account until they venture out into the world of adulthood. Give your child an allowance, and teach them about saving up. Start simple -- have your kid choose something to save up for, like a scooter. Make a chart of how long it will take, what they should put away each week, and what they should allow themselves to spend outside of that big purchase. Your child will be very proud once he or she has saved up enough to get something that they really wanted - on their own. Later on, in their teen years, teach them about balancing a checkbook. They will see how rewarding financial responsibility can be.

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