The benefits of teaching children a healthy sense of responsibility include:
- It helps children believe that they are capable and worthy.
- It engenders feelings of achievement and upliftment.
- It increases independence, which is a wonderful and necessary life-gift.
- It helps increase confidence and leadership skills.
- It teaches children the skills that they will need to live more successful adult lives.
- It encourages self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. This will also include self-care.
Parents must bear in mind that chores and responsibilities at home should be age appropriate. Young children are capable to making their own beds, putting dirty washing in the wash-basket, tidying up their room, brushing their own teeth etc. Older children and teens can make their own beds and keep their personal space tidied. In addition they can help with cooking, washing dishes, washing the car, mowing the lawn, making school lunches and doing their own homework.
The line between insisting, nagging and fighting with the kids to honour their responsibilities is a fine one. Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider.
- Don’t expect or insist upon perfection. Mistakes are inevitable and they are excellent opportunities for learning and problem-solving.
- Do praise, acknowledge, express appreciation and encourage.
- Don’t allow excuses. Teach your children to own their choices and actions.
- Do set boundaries with consequences that you stick to.
- Do set the example of what it is you wish your children to become. They are most likely going to do what you do and not always what you say!
Parents are a child’s first and forever teacher. Make it count by embracing the need for independence and responsibility. It’s not going to be easy, but perseverance, positive encouragement and appreciation go a long way in reaching positive results.