One of the most common responses among parents when are asked about the traits would like their children to have is to be responsible. Being responsible may mean different things such as being dependable, keeping one’s word, meeting one’s commitments, doing something to one’s ability, being accountable for one’s behavior, acknowledging mistakes, and being an asset to one’s family, community and society. Parents often associate responsibility with obedience. Most parents would like their children to do what they ask their children to do, to follow instructions and to not question their authority. But these are not the qualities of being responsible because these are behaviors of being obedient.
It it important for children to develop and exercise ownership for a particular task or chore, and they need to do it because it needs to be done, and eventually they accept that they are obliged to do it. With constant reminder and practice, they may even initiate doing a task over time because it needs to be done and not because they are being told to do so, which is an attitude of being responsible. Parents should know when to give up the things they like and their exact timetable, and allow their child to move from obedience to responsibility basing on their own pace. It is important to allow your children to do things you ask them to do in their own way so they feel encouraged, having a sense of pride and accomplishment, fostering a sense of responsibility. There are several issues raised when considering the transition from obedience to responsibility, about how involved you should be when helping your child meet his commitments and complete tasks.
There are many parents who do not want their children to suffer or fail, so they do so much for their children, and when this happens, they don’t learn to take responsibility by themselves. But there are also some instances when children need the guidance and support of their parents so they can learn the sense of responsibility. It is important to find the balance between under-parenting and over-managing by knowing and deciding the most appropriate time to step in, and when it is more effective to let your children go so they can develop maturity and responsible behaviors. Joining extracurriculars, keeping a pet such as a butterfly koi, and giving them tasks are just some activities your children can do to develop their sense of responsibility. The best role model when it comes to being responsible for your child is you, so it is important to internalize and assess your own actions and check if you are setting a good example or not.