Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaching Responsibility

"The most responsible children usually come from families in which parents almost never use the word responsibility. It's a fact: Responsibility cannot be taught; it must be caught." {from Parenting with Love and Logic}

Be the example

"One of the best (and hardest) ways to engender responsible behavior is to be a good role model with your own possessions — put your car keys where they belong instead of on the dining room table, and tidy up your stack of magazines instead of leaving them all over the couch."

This is why I need to start now by forming good habits so that I can teach my children. I can be a true role model for them and not a hypocrite that merely scolds them for not doing what I do not even do...

There is so much truth to this music video. Children really do watch everything we do and want to be just like their parents. I guess that means we better be the prime example and lead out in righteousness so they will want to follow in our footsteps. Enjoy!

Make your children accountable for accomplishing tasks

Many toddlers are eager to help with chores, and while their “helping” may not always be appreciated, keeping their excitement and the habit of helping out alive, should be. Sticker charts are a great way to keep toddlers excited about helping. Their chores may have to be completed with you helping every step of the way, but you are laying the groundwork for children that find chores and helping a way of life.

Grade-schoolers are quite competent at handling various responsibilities, and they're developing a sense of how some chores, like picking up litter in the park, can benefit an entire community. Most kids don't have much internal motivation to be responsible, so they may still need occasional reminders. At this stage, it's best not to overload your youngster with lots of tasks. Instead, ask him to perform fewer chores — but then make sure he follows through and does them.

still find helping to be an exciting venture and usually are thrilled when time is taken to teach them new chores. They are ready to do some chores without constant supervision. Rewards at this age are very motivating. A sticker chart that allows you to build up to bigger rewards can be appropriate. For some preschoolers, tying chores to an allowance is a great option and fosters independence in choosing a reward.

Children in the preteen age are capable of increasing responsibility where chores are concerned. Keep in mind that many children this age rely on continuity. Find a system that works for your family and do not change it without the input and support of the people it directly affects. Make sure that you factor in rewards and consequences and address those issues with your children. Let them know the consequences of not completing chores, as well as the rewards for fulfilling their responsibilities.

Teenagers are developmentally ready to handle almost any chore in the home. At the same time a teenager’s schedule can sometimes become quite hectic, leaving little time for chores. Make sure that the workload of your teenagers is manageable.

Word things in a positive way

Jerry Wyckoff, a family psychologist and the coauthor of Twenty Teachable Virtues, suggests using what he calls "Grandma's rule" to encourage responsible behavior. Instead of issuing an ultimatum ("If you don't, then you won't"), Grandma's rule says, "When you've done what you have to do, then you get to do what you want to do." "Grandma's rule makes it clear that your household has rules that everyone follows," says Wyckoff. If your child says, "John asked me to come over to his house today. I want to go," respond with, "When you've finished your homework, then you can go play." Saying, "If you finish your homework, I'll take you to a movie," on the other hand, really just bribes your grade-schooler for what should be ordinary behavior — and it raises the possibility that he'll decide he can live without the treat and thus pass on finishing his homework. I found this interesting but it is a lot of how you word things that gets the right message across that you are trying to convey and helps them to keep a positive outlook and learn the things they way they most need to.

Let your children feel the consequences

As long as the outcome isn't harsh or dangerous, let your child live with the results of the choices he makes while the price tags are still low. If he's responsible for packing his homework into his backpack each morning and he doesn't do it, don't hand-deliver it to his classroom later. He may regret having forgotten his homework, but you can bet he'll remember it tomorrow. You can nudge him along by asking him how he can remember next time.

Praise and encourage

Pour on the praise. Positive reinforcement will teach your child that his efforts are important and appreciated. When appropriate, point out exactly how he's helped everyone else: "Great! Now that you've mowed the lawn, we can all have a volleyball game this afternoon." Praise is an expression of worth, approval, or admiration. It is usually given to a child when a task or deed is well done or when a task is completed. Children need feedback on the work they do. An alternative to praise is encouragement. It refers to a positive acknowledgment response that focuses on student efforts or specific attributes of work completed. Unlike praise, encouragement does not place judgment on student work or give information regarding its value.

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