Raising children is hard. You want to do things right. While teaching them something, you need to be careful that you are using the right way. Because, the wrong way will just make things worse than they already were. One such situation is when you are trying to make them a more responsible child. It is like walking on a tightrope. You have got to be careful. Here are 8 facts about raising a responsible child that will help you a lot.
1. Assign age appropriate tasks
You have to start early and start small. The early you start the less painful this journey is going to be. And don’t let their first task be too much for someone their age. Start small with things like making them keep their clothes in the cupboard. After that, slowly make them fold their own clothes. Once they start getting the hang of it, give them another chore.
This way, they won’t feel burdened or overwhelmed. It is just like when you bring a fish, you don’t just chuck it in the water. You sit the water that they were brought in the bowl and then slowly and steadily put them in the water bowl. This way the fish is more comfortable settling in.
2. Respect their opinion
If they are to take responsibility then they must get to have their own views. There is a way you want things done and there is a way they want to get things done. And more often than none these ways are not the same ways. In such situations let them do their thing. It is after all they who are going to be doing it. You need to respect their thinking process and encourage it. This way they will be happier to take up new responsibilities.
Whenever you think that their way is going to be more difficult than the way you suggested, tell them in a friendly manner. Instead of saying the infamous ‘no’ try saying ‘I haven’t tried it, but if you think it isn’t working you can always find another way’ that is a much more agreeable option than ‘no’. And you never know maybe their way may also work.
3. Be patient
Your children aren’t born responsible, nor do they have years of practice at it. There is no magic trick either (too bad). So, this is going to take time. They are learning a new thing here. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t be annoyed. And do not let your temper fly at them at all.
Being a responsible child isn’t going to happen in a day. Everyone has their own pace, they do too. Go with their pace. It doesn’t matter if they are taking time to learn things, they are putting in effort and that is what matters.
4. Let them work even if it will take time
There are moments in every parents’ life when they hear the magic words from their children, ‘Can I help?’ But it so happens that every time they do ask, you are in a hurry and just want to get it done. Which is probably why your kid wanted to help in the first place. In such moments, don’t break their heart and destroy their interest in helping by saying the most hated word ‘no’.
It is going to take more time than you had earlier planned. It is probably going to get messy. But the important thing is that they asked to help. They wanted to be a responsible child and help you. Let them help. Teachable moments like these are rare. Cherish these moments.
5. Don’t micromanage
Sometimes parents aren’t parents anymore. They turn into managers and alarm clocks. Children may be little but that does not in any way make them stupid or incapable of doing a task (appropriate to their age). You as parents don’t have to constantly remind them about their work. You also do not have to certainly keep telling them how they need to do the job.
This is going to definitely rub them off the wrong way. Nobody is going to like it when they are thought incapable of doing their work. That will just increase a lot of fights and the chores aren’t going to be done by themselves (where is magic when you need it!)
6. Appreciate for taking responsibility
Who doesn’t like to be appreciated? No one. Kids especially need to be told that they are doing a good job more often. This helps them boost their morale. They also want to take up more responsibility when they know that their hard work is not only recognized but also appreciated.
7. Don’t give orders, ask for help
Children work better in a healthy and friendly environment. Taking orders does not qualify as a healthy environment. Instead, if they are treated as peers, and asked instead of told, things will get considerably easier than they are. Instead of using an authoritative tone and saying, ‘Do this’ try saying, ‘hey I would really appreciate it if you could help me out by doing this’. Children don’t say no when they are asked nicely. They always help.
They like to know that their contributions also help someone. And that someone being their parents makes that task extra important and special for them.
8. Help them repair damage
Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. And as children the probability for mistakes is higher than others. But that is okay. Don’t get frustrated or shout at them for making mistakes. That is not going to make them responsible at all. But do you know what will make them responsible? Teaching them how to fix the problem. And by fixing the problem, it doesn’t mean that you are supposed to let them do it alone. Help them rectify the damage. Work together.
Children are going to learn more from what you show them, than what you tell them. Be their role model. Lead with example. Be the one they look up to as the most responsible person they know. This is going to go a long way in not only teaching them how to be responsible but also how to be a good leader and a good example.