How to teach your child responsibility

All parents want to raise responsible, caring children — but teaching your child the value of responsibility takes time. Sometimes, doing less in your child’s life can spur greater responsibility. Explore five tips to help you along the way.

1.) Lead with action.

Teaching your child responsibility begins with you. Be a trustworthy role model for your child: set a strong example by following through on your commitments to your family and children. Be dependable and accountable, and your child will see responsibility in action every day.

2.) Give your teen a role.

Give your child a role in the family and set expectations. Whether the role is preparing a dinner or helping a younger sibling with homework, your teen needs opportunities to learn and demonstrate responsibility. Be there to encourage and guide, but let them take the lead. If you see opportunities for improvement, point them out; at the same time, remember to commend your teen for taking steps in the right direction.

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3.) Do less.

As your child grows older, you want them to succeed while knowing they are loved. Doing less for your child is difficult, but it teaches responsibility. Instead of micromanaging, give your teen the freedom to take ownership of actions and consequences, both good and bad. This shows your teen that their contributions are valuable and that you trust them to make smart decisions and follow through on their commitments. Ultimately, doing less teaches your teen to be responsible so they can thrive in adulthood.

4.) Broaden their responsibility.

Give your children opportunities to learn responsibility beyond themselves. This includes responsibility to siblings, neighbors, community and more. Let them demonstrate responsibility in new ways they will enjoy. For example, your teen can participate in a community service with your family or become a volunteer for a local animal shelter with friends. Your teen also gains a sense of perspective through these activities, learning that they are part of a larger community.

5.) Be patient.

Every child is unique and grows to value responsibility in his or her own way. Be patient as he or she learns. Share expectations for your teen with both confidence and compassion. Also, remember to be patient with yourself as you learn the best way to teach responsibility effectively.

Shelterwood Residential Treatment Agency is committed to bringing heart change to teenagers and restoration to families. At Shelterwood, our desire is to create an environment where teens know they are loved, valued and have purpose. To learn more ways to teach responsibility in your home, contact Shelterwood.