“With great power comes great responsibility.” Remember this famous quote from Spiderman? The virtue of being responsible is so deeply ingrained in our culture and our way of life. It can be assumed that as we grow and progress into adulthood, we naturally learn to take ownership of our own life by learning through trial and error. If an individual chooses not to practise self-ownership and consume large amounts of unhealthy food, for example, he or she will have to suffer the consequences of having health issues. From there, the individual will learn to eat healthier in order not to face the consequences.
Likewise for children, it is also possible to start learning to be responsible from a young age. For parents, it can be difficult to let go and let their children stand on their own two feet. Here are some ways that you can start introducing the concept of being responsible to your child at an early age.
When it comes to small tasks that you think your child can handle, why not let your child try taking them on? Introducing your child to chores at home can be a great way to start instilling responsibility in them. You can start simple with them. From making their own beds, to organising their own desks, to sorting out the laundry together with you, show them that they are capable of handling simple chores. As they start practising carrying out routine tasks, they develop confidence in being able to handle them. This will set the stage for them to handle even more difficult tasks if they are exposed to them in future.
As parents, you can also set by example and supervise your child while demonstrating to them how things should be done. This way, your child would have a better idea of what is required of him or her. If they make mistakes, you can gently guide them in the right direction until they learn to do it properly. It can be tempting to take over their chores when they make mistakes, but letting them navigate through the errors and correcting the errors themselves will help them to grow. Gradually, they might be able to handle these chores on their own without your supervision. You will end up having a little helper at home that can assist you with lessening your household responsibilities.
Working through Obstacles Together
Communication often aids in children’s self-development. If your child is not taking ownership of tasks assigned to them, it would be good to take time communicating with them, while trying to understand why they have not been doing so. For example, if your child has a responsibility to pack his or her room but is not doing it, a good question would be to ask him or her why. The answer could reveal things that you didn’t know about your child.
It could simply be because your child does not understand the rationale of being responsible, and the undesirable consequences that come with neglecting duties. Conveying clearly the objectives of completing a task can motivate them to take responsibility. Reasons for packing the room include having a conducive environment for studying, and time saved finding things as your child would know where it was packed. Consequences from not packing can include being disorganised and becoming more tired from looking for things all the time. Once these reasons for packing are made clear, your child might be more inclined to get to work.
If your child’s reason is that he or she is feeling too overwhelmed to do anything, it might be worthwhile to evaluate whether your child is being overwhelmed by too many responsibilities, at home and at school, and might be procrastinating. If you believe that your child is capable of juggling between tasks and is just feeling too disheartened, a good method might be to guide them to complete them in a step by step manner, assuring them that they can complete tasks one at a time. Equipping them with the proper time management skills will also help them to handle their responsibilities better. Such methods can help children to stay focused while encouraging them that they are capable of carrying out their responsibilities.
Encouragement to Take on Leadership Roles
At school, your child would probably have many opportunities to practise being responsible as well. Leadership positions at school clubs, or subject representative positions are all open windows for learning and growing in self-confidence. For example, if your child volunteers to join the student council, some responsibilities may include planning for campaigns, school festivals, and proposing ideas to improve the welfare of students. Roles like this teach them to not only take responsibility for their tasks at hand, they also teach students to be responsible for the welfare of others and to lead by example. Taking on such leadership roles can prepare your child for the working world where roles and responsibilities cannot be shirked, and career progression comes with added commitments.
If your child has a leadership position in school, you can check on how they’ve been doing in their role and give them encouragement and words of praise whenever they’ve shared that they did something that made a positive change at their school club. If your child is in charge of packing and distributing welfare packs to club members and accomplished that after many days of preparation, remember to commend them for their hard work. If they have made a mistake that resulted in the inconvenience of others, you can also encourage them not to be disheartened and walk them through on what they could have done better. It can be intimidating to take on leadership positions, as there is always that element of self-doubt that someone else could do a better job in the same role.
In conclusion, instilling responsibility in your child comes hand in hand with building their self-confidence, through exposing them to opportunities that trains them to take ownership of tasks and commitments. With constant means of encouragement, communication, and delegation of simple tasks, you can help your child to see that they are capable people that can do things independently without relying on you for help. If you are interested in your child’s self-development, check out our child development courses here.