Responsibility often is difficult to develop in children. Youngsters must have some inherent sense of responsibility before the trait can be developed more fully.
Teaching children to be accountable for their actions and to feel a sense of responsibility is necessary if they are ever to be prepared for adult living.
Here are some ways to help children develop responsibility:
- Do not do for your children things they can do for themselves. Some parents place too much emphasis on doing things perfectly or performing tasks quickly. Children learn many things by trial and error. Letting them accept responsibility also means allowing them to set some of their own standards and work at a comfortable pace.
- Give children time to learn. Learning is easiest in a relaxed setting. Give clear, careful directions for doing the task and allow plenty of time to complete it.
- Ask, don’t order. Ordering, demanding or forcing children to do tasks is not the way to develop responsibility. You usually will find children eager to help when they know they are needed and made to feel they can do the job.
- Use natural and logical consequences. If children refuse to do the tasks that are their responsibilities, step back, stop discussing it and let them experience the consequences. An example is homework. Homework is the child’s responsibility. If it isn’t completed, the child will soon learn the consequences. Parents must be willing to accept that children may make some low grades and not be on the honor roll until they accept the responsibility for studying their lessons and completing assignments.
When children learn to accept responsibility, they gain confidence, feel more worthwhile and enjoy being recognized as responsible.
Contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office to learn more about developing responsibility in children.