Raising Responsible Children

Parenting is simply the most important task any of us undertake in our lifetime. God gives us the gift of children. We take care of them, cherish them, and guide them. We hope they grow up to contribute positively to their society and live life with love, wisdom, and honor.

Children need to grow up with love, guidance, and positive values. Values, among other things, shape the child’s character. And what is more important than the character? A child, who is accountable for his actions, generally turns out to be a responsible adult. Learning to take responsibility for our actions is the very definition of becoming an adult.

Accountability

Here are some every day examples of lack of accountability: If it is always the other kid’s fault, if he drops his clothes on the floor and you constantly pick them up, if he/she does not take good care of the toys/belongings and you keep replacing them, etc. These are all occasions to teach responsibility. Routines and predictability in the life of children help create a better environment for developing accountability for children.

Role of the Parents

Obviously there are other influences in the life of the child that help teach him accountability. Parent’s behavior and how responsibly we conduct ourselves are among the most important factors.

If we, as adults, act like victims, if we find ourselves blaming others for our dissatisfactions, most likely our children learn to do the same. Living life as a victim means that every time you have a problem, you blame someone else for it. Children learn to follow that pattern. To look to ourselves for solutions first and foremost, and then looking outside at what/who can help solve the problem, take us out of the victim mode.

Taking responsibility for what we are willing to do or not do about a situation creates power. Blaming others and feeling that is someone or something else’s fault, negates power. Which way of life do you want to teach your children?

Dr. Mand invites your comments and questions. Email parenting@drmandphd.com

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