We can go through life with philosophies and rules but the truth is, some areas will always remain ambiguous, like raising responsible children. While it is hard to have definitive guidelines, it is good to know that most children have their phases and right from their toddler stage we face a roadblock in getting them to have the ‘perfect’ behavior, the way we as parents imagine it to be. We often forget that these children are individuals with a mind of their own and they require modeling and guidance instead of a dictatorial approach. Keeping in mind that children are never too young to learn anything, here are some coaching tactics that children are guaranteed to respond:
1. Children’s confidence is boosted knowing they are being treated as equal individuals. Hence, we must instill a sense of responsibility in children by letting them help around the house with chores and making them fun activities. Teaching them to clear up a mess they have created is the beginning of such an initiative. Children can create their routines in consensus with parents.
2. Very often parents find themselves repeating the same instructions like “Clean your room, do your homework, drink your milk, and chew your food”, etc. It’s a robotic approach that does not instill any responsibility. Without understanding the instruction, implication, results and desired action, how are children supposed to feel like responsible individuals. Hence, parents must fine-tune these rants towards responsible questioning resulting in an answer and clarity for the child to act. Hence, it would be easier to ask, “How do we eat our food?” “Why do we chew food”? “Why should we have our milk”? This is a great way to engage the kids with relevant two-way communication.
3. Children should be held responsible for their actions. This becomes imperative in their behavior with other children, at school, the park or even at home. Through such responsibility, they learn that hurting others and being hurt by others is their responsibility and they will have to make their interactions less hurtful and more joyous to be around. If they are in a difficult situation, they should find a solution for it with guided questioning rather than bailing them out. In case your child shows some level of slackness it is critical to never label the child with negating sentiments like lazy or irresponsible, which can affect their confidence levels.
4. It is important to show children the value of money and earning it from work done. So work for pay is an effective system with chores that are beyond the routine, motivating children to try to help around. On the same note, any damage to their toys, household things, books, should be penalized from their reward to instill the responsibility factor.
Understanding that each child is different, communication is the key to any strategy. Whatever your coaching mantra may be, always strive to share, care, nurture and grow together!