I wish we could box this topic up in a neat little package. I wish I could say, A. Step One, “do this.” However, we all know that teaching a child responsibility may not look the same for each of our kids. Learning how to help your child develop responsibility can begin even when they are young. It takes constant effort by parents and children.
This post is part of the Building Virtues in Your Children Series
I can tell you that I have tried to teach my eldest daughter responsibility since she was little. I thought it was only with chores that I was teaching my daughter how to be responsible, but looking back, I see that several things contributed to her becoming a responsible adult.
She is now 21, has her own apartment, works full time, and goes to school full time; I am super proud of her. One of the proudest moments I had was when I received a phone call from her a couple of years ago.
She said, “thank you, mom.” I asked her why she was thanking me. She said she is so happy I taught her how to save money, pay bills, clean, cook, and do laundry.
My mouth almost hit the floor. I mean, I wanted to cry as well; OK, maybe I shed a tear or two. See, when you are raising children, you just never know if the effort you put in will ever yield fruit.
That day the headaches, the toughness, the rough times we had while she was growing up – those times were all worth every single effort. We never stop being parents to our kids. We never stop trying to help our children grow up into responsible adults.
Even when they are on their own, we still pray the Lord holds them close to His Word, He keeps them safe, and that they are able to handle life. Raising kids will look different with each child, but we surely can encourage them in the way they should go.
Although kids will respond differently from the many ways we teach them responsibility, there are a few things we can do to encourage responsibility at home.
Here are a few things ways we can help our children develop responsibility:
Yes! Of course, chores help you out. They help kids with accountability. Chores also show children they are a part of the family unit and that everyone needs to work together for the family to function properly.
Chores develop responsibility when kids know what they need to do and face the consequences of not doing them. Always remember to tell them how much you appreciate them. Maybe it is just the Latina huggy-lovey mom inside of me, but I genuinely appreciate it when my kids do a good job, and I let them know as often as I can. Most of the time that includes A LOT of hugs!
Our kids make life easier by doing their chores, and for that we are grateful. Chores are beneficial for the whole family unit.
Did you think only our kids had to do the work? Well, being consistent in what we tell them is a way they see us being responsible as well. If our kids need to do something or say they will and don’t end up doing it, then they need to know that their consequence will be coming. So be consistent.
Every action in life has a consequence, whether it be good or bad. Letting children figure that out early is an excellent practice for how they handle situations as an adult.
REMEMBER AGE APPROPRIATENESS
Having to clean up the whole house at the age of 10 can make any kid hate chores. We can teach our kids responsibility without going overboard. Teaching kids to clean can be done correctly. Here are some tips, age-appropriate cleaning lists, and free chore charts to help.
A part of teaching responsibility is allowing kids to make their own choices. Lord knows I LOVE to make my kid’s choices for them, but that is doing them a disservice. Start building independence with options such as allowing them to choose which extracurricular activities they want to participate in, what time they prefer to do a particular subject during school, what exercises they want to do, and other decision-making responsibilities.
Giving them the options to do “this” or “that” will allow them to learn from their choices, even if the result didn’t turn out to be favorable. Next time, they will make a more responsible choice.
READ GOD’S WORD
We should be helping our children read God’s Word anyway. We all know that, but I am saying it for a different reason. God has a lot to say about responsibility, and He also says his Word will never return void. Therefore, teaching responsibility with God’s instruction book is just a given.
Here are a few Bible verses that can help children become more responsible:
Ezequiel 18:20 – “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”
Galatians 6:7,8 – “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
(I use this often with my kids because let’s face it; it can get really easy to be really lazy.)
2 Thessalonians 3:10 – “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
Teach kids the accounts in the Bible when people failed to take responsibility like Adam blaming Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, Cain’s dodging responsibility when he asked God if he was his brother’s keeper. Pilate trying to escape his responsibility when making the crowd choose to crucify Christ. The faithful servants, were responsible enough to multiply the rich master’s talents. The Bible says that one was a “worthless servant.”
These Bible teachings may sound harsh, but they are useful to us all, even to our children at young ages. Through God’s Word, we can help our children develop a manner of characteristics.
The resources below can help you with teaching your kids responsibility even from a young age:
How To Teach Kids Responsible Screen Time + FREE Printable | Busy Creating Memories
Don’t forget to read up on how to develop some other character-building habits in your kids here:
Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff: an empowering children’s book about responsibility (Cami Kangaroo and Wyatt Too)Teaching Your Children ResponsibilityAm I Doing Too Much for My Child?: Getting Your Child on the Road to Responsibility and IndependenceBut It’s Not My Fault! (Responsible Me!)Melissa & Doug Magnetic Responsibility and Chore Chart (Developmental Toys, Encourages Good Behavior, 90 Pieces, Great Gift for Girls and Boys – Best for 3, 4, 5 Year Olds and Up)Kids and Money: Teaching Financial Responsibility and Values to Children
Teaching responsibility isn’t easy, and sometimes we may miss the mark. We love our kids so much and want them to have everything we didn’t.
Although that is understandable, we also have a responsibility to train them in the way they should go. Developing their responsibility is something we can encourage that our kids will benefit from throughout their lifetime.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!