How many times have you heard the word “entitled” of late? Probably more times than you wish to hear it. What happens though, when this word pertains to a child? What are the characteristics of responsible parenthood? As you develop characteristics of effective parenting, you want to raise kids who are responsible and not entitled.
So how do we raise a responsible child instead of an entitled one? Let’s look at “what makes a responsible child,” how to avoid creating a sense of entitlement, and ultimately how to make sure you raise a responsible child.
WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY IN A CHILD
When you want to raise a responsible child, it helps to know exactly what this means. As adults, we know what it means to be responsible, but our responsibilities are rather different than that of children.
That being said, teaching the fundamentals of responsibility will set your child up for success later in life.
- Being trusted
- Learning to decide for themselves
- Understanding consequences of one’s actions
Putting these basic foundations into actual practice while teaching your child responsibility is not always a straightforward task. But you can do it!
We can do it in a way that is joyful and empowering for your child, rather than making it feel like a burden.
LEARNING RESPONSIBILITY CAN BE FUN
Often we as adults think our children want to be doted on endlessly and that we should do everything for them. They want to be strong and independent and be able to do things for themselves. They want us to trust them to do things.
So where to start?
Let us take a closer look at how you can raise a responsible child without it feeling like it is a burden.
CLEAN UP BEHIND YOURSELF
Your child should always know to clean up behind themselves. This pertains to home and when they are in other people’s homes.
Throwing away empty wrappers and containers is just a sign of respect not only for the surrounding people – but thinking long term about the earth too.
Important to note: it is never too early to start with this one. Choose age-appropriate chores for your kids, but the earlier that a child realizes that cleaning is a natural part of his daily routine, the better.
MY HOUSE MY RULES
It is important that from a young age children realize the rules of the house in which they live.
Explain to your child why they need to abide by the rules as stipulated. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, and they can surprise you.
Teach your child from early on how to prepare snacks. Or even to grab a snack from the allocated spot in the fridge or cupboard.
This gives them a sense of self. They feel more empowered knowing that they got this done for themselves.
Obviously this depends on age – but I would say from 5 years of age they can already get taught how to make a simple sandwich and maybe even pour themselves some juice.
Some boundaries need to be set so they do not finish the entire pantry worth of food in one sitting, but you get the general idea.
CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Children thrive in an environment where they feel like their own person and can do for themselves easily.
Making sure their room is decluttered and well-organized is a great starting point. Create storage areas with containers and spaces that are easy to reach when they have to clean up so they can tidy up after themselves.
Putting their toothbrush and washcloth at a height that they can get to it in the mornings and evenings means they can do their hygiene routine without little to no help.
All these things give them a sense of responsibility and work ethic that they can carry on with as they grow older.
SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE
Be a responsible adult. Do not complain about your household chores or things you need to do. Instead, take pride in the things you do well.
DO NOT CROSS THE LINE
Keeping it all simple and fun is the key. Make sure that you give positive reinforcement and feedback often.
But be careful to not over indulge them otherwise you cross that fine line between positive feedback and creating a sense of entitlement.
For example, thanking them for helping with a task that you have asked them to help you with is a great way for them to feel proud of their work.
But thanking them and saying “good job” even when it was not done completely is not always a good thing because if they keep only half-completing tasks and being told that it is fine, they will never feel the need to follow through on their actions – and never take responsibility.
The key points to take into consideration when implementing these characteristics of responsible parenthood are:
- Give your child guidance and let them know what to expect
- Give positive feedback when it is required and earned
- Let them learn from mistakes – do not go in and fix everything for them
- When a child “chooses” their behavior, they also “choose” the consequences
Let them know when they are doing well, but also do not be afraid to tell them when they are wrong. Remember that what you do for them or teach them now is what will set them up for the future…. No pressure!