Six Important Things to Know about Responsibility

Parenting Thoughts

Six important things to know about responsibility:
  1. “Things are falling into place.” Not really. Things don’t happen by magic; people make things happen. Children need to know who is responsible for successes and mistakes. This can help them learn to be responsible.
  2. “You make me so happy.” Not really. Others do not “make” us happy or sad. We are each responsible for our own feelings. Especially, children cannot be responsible for the feelings of their parents and caregivers. Try telling them you are happy when you are with them instead of telling them they make you happy.
  3. “You are so scared.” Maybe not. How can children be responsible for what they think or feel when they are “told” what they think and feel? Learning to know what they think and feel and to talk about those thoughts and feelings will help them learn to take responsibility for them and deal with them.
  4. “Will you feed the dog?” When you answer yes or no directly and honestly, you are taking responsibility for your answer. If you say yes but don’t following through. You are being irresponsible. If you ignore the question or change the subject you also are being irresponsible. To teach your children responsibility push for an expect them to answer with a yes or no.
  5. Give clear messages, including rules with consequences. This allows people to understand each other and be talking about the same thing. It also allows both adult and child to be responsible for their behavior because both know what is expected.
  6. “There’s no milk.”  If you need or want milk, be responsible for that and say so. Others can’t help us get our needs and wants met, if we expect them to read our minds.
Inspired by: SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR by Jean Illsley Clarke.

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