Raising Responsible Kids
Integrated Learning Strategies is excited to feature raising responsible children in this guest post by Christine Hill. While many of the recommendations below are great for select children and parents, some accommodations or exceptions may be made for children with learning challenges and learning disabilities.
Have you ever worried that your kids won’t be able to deal with the challenges of independent life? How do you think they’ll deal with college? Will they be able to clean up after themselves? Hire an electrician? Manage their bank account? With “helicopter parenting” preventing tons of modern kids from learning to take care of themselves, it can be hard to know what you can really do to help your children grow into responsible, capable adults.
Raising responsible kids is a lot easier said than done. Once tantrums, fights, nagging, and exhausting teaching sessions start, it seems a lot easier to just start taking care of things yourself. But don’t give in! The world needs more responsible kids, and change starts with you!
Tips for Responsible Kids
Here are some practical ideas to help you raise your children to be responsible adults:
Set up a money system for your kids
Kids can earn fake-cash rewards for chores done, and trade in that money for rewards from a box. Not only is this a great way to motivate your children to get work done around the house, but it also teaches them to manage money independently. They’re free to make their own decisions, and save up for something bigger, or cash in for small prizes right away. Currency is about more than learning how to count up dimes and quarters. In fact, cash money is a fairly recent development. That means that you have the power to set up your own system easily!
Get them a plant or pet
Now, you have to be ready for this kind of move, because there are plenty of responsibilities and costs that will fall on you when there’s a plant or animal that your child is responsible for. However, kids can be really motivated to assume responsibility for the sake of some animal that they want. If you’re worried about introducing a dog into the house, work up to it. Tell your child they first have to keep a plant alive for 2 months, and then a goldfish. You’ll probably still have to remind them daily about their responsibilities, but they’ll become better and better if they’re really driven.
Show the example
Always be fair and responsible in your dealings with others. Own up to your mistakes and make reparations when needed. Even when you think they’re not watching, your kids see everything you do, and model themselves off of your example. So, next time you’re tempted to blame another person for your situation, instead take responsibility and problem-solve yourself.
Don’t shy away from conflict
It’s often easier to take care of things yourself, and much as we try to deny it, the criticism, harsh words, and tantrums from our kids really can hurt. However, it’s an unsustainable pattern to always kowtow to your kids’ wishes. Always lead with love and let your children know that you support them and have faith in them. But don’t be afraid of hard truths, and even arguments in the home. Loving them and allowing them to get away with anything are not the same thing!
Avoid cleaning up their messes whenever possible
Give your children opportunities to learn about real-life actions and consequences. If their lack of studying led to bad grades, so be it. It’s up to them to solve the problem. If their friend is coming over for a playdate, but the house is messy with their toys, let them determine whether they want that to change or not. If they forgot their lunch at home, so be it. If making them skip lunch is too much for you, bring them something else, but don’t bring the lunch they forgot. Make sure there are still consequences so that they learn to avoid these mistakes in the future.
Invite kids to participate in chores
Often, it can feel like little kids are underfoot when you’re trying to get chores done, but that period of time when they want to help you is precious! Teach them whatever you can to get them to help, praise them for their work, and make them feel valued and capable, even if they’re just little toddlers who can’t get much done. Use the “big kid” appeal, it works like a charm! “Big kids clean up their own laundry!”
Eliminate shame and promote honesty
Teaching responsibility doesn’t mean teaching kids to lie about what they know, what they can do, and who they are. Rather, it means empowering them to own up to their mistakes and achievements, and learn how to learn on their own. Honesty is an important part of responsibility. Make sure that when you need to scold them, you’re scolding the action and not the person. Always let them know about your love and trust so that mistakes don’t start getting confused with shame.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs