Advice Column, Parenting

How To Teach Your Child To Be More Responsible

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Starting with the small things will make the big things easier to handle. When our children are in a hurry and they open a granola bar and miss the trash when tossing the wrapper, it leaves us with two choices. We can request they do it properly, or we can toss it in for them because they are watching their favourite movie at the moment. Maybe they were well-behaved that day and we don’t want to bother them about this one small transgression. If we don’t summon them back we have reinforced their poor behaviour and broken our own rules.

By inviting our children to redo the chore properly regardless of what it is they are doing, we will be encouraging them to do tasks correctly the first time. You are teaching them habits that will serve them at school and in the community. The message hasn’t harmed them or demeaned them in any way. When there is responsibility, children learn self-reliance and independence which builds confidence.

We have to fervently implement the directions for what we seek to manage. This takes time and effort but we are rewarded with easier children to manage. It is difficult when parents disagree on discipline methods. . When mom and dad disagree about discipline techniques, it causes fights and undisciplined children.  Never argue the rules in front of the children. The children will pounce on a weak link as far as a certain rule is concerned. This will promote unruly children who are manipulating the rules, and parents who spend more time discussing rather than acting. Parents need to negotiate between themselves and then follow the practices agreed upon. Encouraging our children to comply with the guidelines is the last step. Unless we are in agreement, our children will take advantage of our conflicting views, and do whatever they want until parents agree.

Children might set one parent against the other when parents are divorced. If the child is excited about going someplace with one parent, the other parent feels the competition. Children remember the feelings of love that they spent with us far more than the silly trinkets or day trips. Just sitting and listening, talking, hugging, going to a park, and kissing our child more often is critical. We are not divorced from our kids and we must continue to parent.

Parenting is the finest and most honourable job in the world. We need to value all children. Our kids are a reflection of us and we hold the power to produce something worthwhile. We can’t ignore kids. Effort is necessary if we expect them to flourish. If simply stated, it takes a lot of time, determination consistency and effort. We love our kids but they can be difficult and trying especially when we are in a bad mood or had a horrible day ourselves.

Discipline requires effort and consistency. We can’t preach how to behave one minute and then make disobedience acceptable the next minute. If we don’t want children jumping on beds, then that’s the rule. If we allow it to happen when our children have friends over for a visit, then we have broken the rules. With divorce there are 4 disciplinarians and fairness becomes more difficult. Still it helps to agree on certain terms for the kids’ sake.

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