Tuesday, March 15

Parenting with Purpose: Teaching Kids Responsibility

Responsibility, it's a big word.
It's a word that will grow our children into mature adults.
When do we introduce responsibility to our children?  If we, as parents, don't introduce it early on, it will be more difficult to teach them as they grow older.

A Simple Task
Start with a simple task. If your child is little, allow them to learn a task such as putting up their stuffed animal or putting up their shoes in a certain place. They can remember little things like this. Don't underestimate their ability. My son is a preschooler and I can tell you it would be easy to put off giving him tiny responsibilities. It's hard when they are little because it takes time to make sure they understand the task and you have to take time to teach them. But our children learn consistency if we model consistency for them.

At the age of three, I noticed my son was able to put things in the trash and in the sink. The first task I ever gave him consistently was the job of putting up his plate after he ate. I was amazed at how excited he became to accomplish such a simple job. Putting up his plate is now a daily habit and I don't have to ask him to do it anymore. Currently, we are working on learning how to put up our toys and clean up our messes. This is a work in progress but slowly and surely we are getting there. Just the other day, I spilled something on the floor and he came up with a mop and began mopping up my mess. I just smiled and thought, "keep on teaching him Ashley, he is getting it."

The Problem if Parents Don't Teach
If parents don't teach their children responsibility, they won't learn it. They will grow into children who think they are owed and don't have to work for anything. Part of teaching responsibility for the parent is learning how to let go and give your child more freedom to make mistakes. They have to learn from their mistakes.
Would I still like to put up my son's plate? Absolutely! But if I don't get into the habit of teaching him now, he will come to expect me to always put his plate up as he grows older. Part of the reason children aren't learning responsibility in today's society has nothing to do with them, but all to do with their parents lack of teaching them.

As believing parents, God has given us our children to raise to love and know Him. He has given us the responsibility to be good stewards of what He has given us in our children. Can we do a better job at being purposeful in teaching them about the LORD? YES! Can we do a better job at learning how to become responsible at any age? YES! Don't give up! Keep looking for ways to teach your child responsibility. You aren't raising them to depend on you forever.

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