Responsibility is being accountable for the things you have to do and are expected of you. We all have both personal and social responsibilities. For a child, it is a process of learning what is expected of him on a personal level: making his bed, putting away his toys, sharing, being kind to others, and so on.
Why is Responsibility important?
By teaching your child the valuable lessons and virtue of responsibility, you help her understand that she is accountable to herself. She learns that she is responsible for the things that go right or wrong in her life. This process empowers her to always become a better person. Although sometimes bad things happen in life that are outside of her control, if she continues to blame other people and circumstances, this negative behavior will disable her from becoming her best self. The minute she takes responsibility for her actions and what happens to her, she takes a big step toward accomplishing and becoming whoever she wants to be.
You must bring this very important point home with your family: the moment someone gives away responsibility to someone else, she is giving away her power. She cannot fix someone else’s actions or behavior; she only has control over her own. Taking on responsibility as a child helps her become a responsible adult. This is a very important learned skill.
The Level of Responsibility Grows
As your child matures and learns personal responsibility, he must learn more about his broader social responsibilities. He needs to know that after responsibility for self comes the responsibility for his family, school, town, country, and eventually, the world.
The amount of responsibility grows over time so that as he gets older, he is able to take on more and more. This means that you have to monitor his responsibilities to ensure that they are age-appropriate and the rate of increase parallels his level of maturity.
As a parent, teacher, or guide, you must make sure that you are consistent in your expectations and model the same behaviors. For example, you can’t expect your child to make his bed every morning if you don’t. You have to express reasonable expectations, be consistent in their execution, and be understanding while your child practices.
Bringing it Home
Family discussions and activities help your children learn directly from you, the greatest influence in their life. Here is an activity you can do as a family to raise responsible children.
1. On separate sheets of paper, write down everyone’s responsibilities in the home, school, work, and communities.
2. Discuss these responsibilities in detail and talk about your challenges as well as your successes.
3. Review everyone’s responsibilities and acknowledge one another’s accomplishments of their obligations.
4. Have a discussion around how each person’s responsibilities benefit everyone else in the family and the surroundings. If one or several of you work very hard to support the household financially and provide for them, engage in conversation about what would happen if you didn’t have that sense of obligation and responsibility toward your family.
5. Discuss the many changes in your current lifestyle and the ways you might suffer; then, acknowledge the person or persons for their contribution and responsibilities fulfilled. Thank them. Affirm one other for the display of responsibility by saying something like, “I really like the way Michael has been carefully separating the trash from the recycling and how he puts the trash out every Monday morning before the garbage truck picks it up.”