Chewing gum with mouths wide open, speaking on cell phones loudly in public places, forgetting to say please or thank you, disrespecting elders and wearing clothing that leaves little to the imagination. Sounds scary when you think that this could be your child one day!
Today, there is wide recognition that because of our busy modern lifestyles, children are not given enough opportunity to learn how to be responsible whilst they are young. Before the age of 6, the ability to mould young minds is greatest and laying the foundation for being responsible is the easiest. Building confidence in young children should be a priority as this is the key to being assertive, making good choices and displaying overall positive behaviour.
Naturally as a parent, you want your children to learn to feel, think, and act with respect not only for themselves but especially for other people. So how do you teach responsible behaviour to your children? Responsibility or a lack thereof is learnt through the senses and through imitating adults. Especially when they are young, your children learn best about responsibility in concrete situations. The best way to encourage your children to become responsible is for you to use everyday teachable moments which engage them in positive behaviour, which is then rewarded by positive praise.
Habits are acquired by doing the same thing over and over again. So, if good attitudes and behaviour are not learned repetitively, problems can arise with bad consequences when they are older. Laying the foundation for responsible living should be done through the consistent repetition of positive behaviour. Sometimes, your child may make mistakes or be cheeky and rude but by giving them unconditional support based on you being their role model will leave them feeling safe and empowered to lead responsible lives.