Your child will quickly mature and grow up, and there’s no better time than the present to start teaching them about responsibility. Children are born without any notion of what it means to be responsible, and thus it’s up to the parent to instill a good foundation and understanding of what it means and how to do it without even thinking. 

Don’t Punish

Most children are going to learn through your actions and how you act in front of others. They learn from what they see and hear, so it’s very important to lead by example when it comes to showing responsibility. Simply telling children to be more responsible won’t have any effect on them. Explain what responsibility means, and how they can do this everyday in how they work and act. Then make sure you’re practicing the same principles so they can see what being responsible is in real time. Show them that it’s important to value other’s opinions, just as valuing their own opinions is highly important. It may be a little early to start diving into morality, but even through some of your own acts of kindness and responsibility, your child may learn some of the principles of morality through your actions and behavior. Punishing children only tells them what they’re doing wrong, not instilling much responsibility but instead fear. And be sure to point out when they’re being responsible in the right ways, as well. Parents tend to focus too much on letting children know when something they’re doing is wrong, but sometimes forget to acknowledge the positives that their children express. 

No Helicopter Parents

Another parenting model that typically doesn’t teach much responsibility to your children is when you rarely let anything happen to them in the first place. Being overprotective of your child can be hard not to do, but it won’t help them gain hands-on skills that will help them succeed when they’re older. By being overprotective, you essentially stop any decisions from coming to your child, and thus they won’t learn how to handle certain situations very easily. If you step in to help them time and time, they won’t discover how to listen, think and react to the world around them. Being a helicopter parent will give you peace of mind, but it won’t give your child the social and critical thinking skills they need to thrive. 

Role Models

Remember that children soak up information and social skills like a sponge. This can be a great way for them to learn life skills, but it also means they may pick up some habits that you don’t want them to carry. Being their parents, you are going to be around them all the time, so it’s best to lead through example and show them how to handle situations with grace and ease.    

Katie Kyzivat