How to raise responsible kids

How To... Teach Your Child To Be Responsible

We all want our children to grow up to be caring and responsible individuals. To make sure your children get off on the right foot, teach them from a young age to consider the consequences of their actions, the needs and feelings of others and the value of hard work. Follow these steps to help your children develop into responsible people.

Little girl washing dishesStep 1: Start early

Start positive parenting at an early age with your child. It's easier to create good habits at a young age, rather than try to break bad ones later. Even toddlers can begin to learn how to be responsible. Assign daily chores according to age level, instill good values and don't allow your kids to back out of their commitments.

Step 2: Praise good behavior

Instead of constantly telling your kids what they shouldn't do or yelling at them for what they've done wrong, praise good behavior. You'll find that praise is far more effective. When your child does anything positive (from picking up toys to getting good grades), be sure to take notice and praise good actions and achievements.

Step 3: Be a role model

We can't expect our children to grow up into model citizens when we live by another set of standards ourselves. Children learn and model the behaviors and values of their parents and caregivers. Keep your home and yourself clean, take care of your property, treat others with respect, manage your money, help the less fortunate and engage in other activities that display responsible behavior.

Step 4: Allow natural consequences

The best lessons in life come from the natural consequences of our actions. Therefore, if your child loses or breaks a favorite toy from acting irresponsibly, don't run out and buy a new one. Instead, she should have to borrow one or share with others until she can earn enough money to buy her own again.

Step 5: Reward, don't bribe

When your child does something positive, offer rewards. A reward can be something as simple as a sticker for completing daily chores, or as special as a trip to the amusement park for getting straight A's in school. Rewards reinforce positive behavior. Avoid bribes, however. Bribes are incentives (monetary or otherwise) given to children beforehand to encourage good behavior.

Step 6: Teach the value of hard work

Hard work and money management are important values to instill in your children from a young age. Though it's nice to be able to spoil kids every once in a while, you shouldn't cater to their every whim. Teach them to work for things they really want. Allow your kids to earn money by completing extra chores for the family or neighbors. Encourage them to save money to buy something they really want, rather than spending it immediately on small, frivolous things.

Help your child grow up to become a responsible adult by praising positive behavior, allowing natural consequences and instilling good values from an early age. Though good parenting won't ensure your children's actions in the future, living in a responsible manner can help them have a foundation on which to grow.

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For more info on this topic...For more tips on raising responsible kids, check out:
Get your kids' help with dinner

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