How to Raise A Responsible Child

By The SAFE Foundation Feb 17, 2017 11:53 AM

What do we want for our children? We want them to be honest and well respected, hardworking, have the tools to earn money, and be financially responsible. We want them to be able to get married and stay married.  And of course, we wish for them to have wonderful children of their own one day.

How do we raise a child who is capable of building and sustaining these values? The answer is to teach your child to be accountable for his or her actions. Children who don’t learn how to be accountable, become irresponsible adults who blame others for their failings. Here are 4 suggestions that parents can be mindful of when raising their kids.

House Rules Rule: Even if you have a housekeeper, children can put dirty clothing in the hamper, clean clothes where they belong, throw garbage in the garbage can, bring plates to the sink after they are done eating, and hang up their coats and take off shoes in a designated place when they come home. Being in charge of these things makes children aware that they are making an imprint on their environment and that they are responsible for themselves.

Don't be the Genie in the Bottle: In reality, people need to work for things they want. If you grant every wish, you will not only teach your child that the world revolves around him or her, but you will also be providing a false picture of how life works. How much more equipped will your child be if you show him how to work, save and buy the item he or she desires?

You Gotta be Cruel to be Kind: Parents often have pity and/or want to protect their children from unpleasant consequences, so they repeatedly assist their children with things like forgotten homework or even parking tickets. What parents don't realize is that by doing this, children miss out on learning that there are penalties for mistakes and they do not get the opportunity to recover and rebound. Of course, we want to teach our kids to have heart because that is where the balance comes in.

Mind Mistakes: When and if a child makes a mistake, do not gloss over it and ignore that it happened. Rather, have a conversation about it. Make it an important event. In your talk, explain how making missteps is part of being human and urge your child to forgive himself. Then try to speak about what can be done in the future to create a better outcome. This will show your child that his actions matter.

Allow allowance: Try to teach your kids to work within a budget. If clothing and school supplies fall into a different category, so be it. Let gifts for friends, knick-knacks, restaurants, movies, and other recreational costs come out of a fair, agreed-upon amount. Remember to leave room for motivation to work and earn more by themselves. Learning how to regard money, spend and save, is a very valuable tool for becoming a responsible person.

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The SAFE Foundation is a New York State licensed OASAS outpatient treatment program located in Brooklyn, New York. We serve as a reliable haven for those experiencing difficulties with drug addiction, alcoholism, and compulsive gambling.