Thursday, November 20, 2008

Simple Ways to Raise Responsible Children

Teaching responsibility to your children might not be as familiar as teaching math or reading. However, parents can help children understand what it means to be responsible. Terri Khonsari, a speaker and author of Raising A Superstar: Simple Strategies to Bring Out the Brilliance in Every Child, provides four steps for raising a child who understands responsibility.
  1. Start giving your children small tasks and chores when they are young. Add to their responsibilities as they get older. Children have a natural desire to help, and you can take advantage of their willingness when they are little. Ask them to take care of certain duties and hold them accountable. Teach them to do things because it helps them and those around them, and not because they get something material from you. Chores can start with very simple things like having them empty trash cans or put their own plate away, and later on they can graduate to washing the dishes or making the salad for dinner.
  2. Model the responsible behavior you want your child to emulate. Children can see right through hypocrisy. If there is a discrepancy between your behavior and your teachings, they will copy your actions rather than follow your words. Be responsible in your own life; show care and dedication toward your job, your family, and the commitments that you make to your children and their school. Do you take care of your responsibilities with passion and show enthusiasm for doing what you need to do? Take care of your responsibilities and show your kids you can have fun at the same time.
  3. Communicate with your children about responsible behavior. Let them know when you see them being responsible. Point to specific behaviors that you notice them excelling in. Children don’t know what it looks like to be responsible until you tell them and show them. Help them understand what you expect and make them feel they are being rewarded for doing the right thing, even if it is just a pat on the back. This will encourage them to continue being responsible and even strive to improve in other areas. Make responsibility a strong value for your whole family and announce it during your family quality times.
  4. Believe in your children and show them that you believe they can be responsible. They will pick up on your belief and tend to fulfill expectations. Encourage your kids to do new things for themselves and for the family, and help them achieve their goals in the right way. Not only you will help them become responsible, you will boost their confidence as well.
It doesn’t hurt to have a chart to help remind everyone what their responsibilities are. That way there is no excuse to forget to do homework, feed the cat or take out the trash. As good habits are formed, you will be laying the foundation for your children to grow into dependable, responsible adults.
Terri Khonsari is the bestselling author of Raising A Superstar: Simple Strategies to Bring Out the Brilliance in Every Child. To learn more about Terri’s work visit and sign up for more free tips on raising happy, healthy and successful children.

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