One of the most important and difficult aspects of parenting is developing a sense of responsibility in children. Tolerating irrational attitude exhibited by most children and teaching them principles and values that are important is not always easy.
One of the ways you can teach your child responsibility is to let him bear the consequences of his mistakes. Many children feel guilty after breaking something or realizing that if something is missing, it probably is their fault. They come to their parents, apologize and promise that it will never happen again. However, this is the ideal situation rarely seen in a family.
Whether your child is ready to take responsibility of a certain action depends on his age and your family setup. It has been observed that a child whose parents are flexible in their dealings with such situations is more likely to take the blame than the child whose parents are strict and harsh and always inflict punishments.
Making clear to your children what is right and what is wrong, not only in your eyes but also according to the religion and society, is a good way to start instilling a sense of responsibility. There should be a clear-cut discrimination between an acceptable behavior and an intolerable one. Children should know their boundaries and be aware of the consequences of crossing those boundaries for one reason or another.
Also, give your child a chance to explain or justify his actions. There is no need to be harsh or unsympathetic if your child had been compelled to take a certain step. Many factors play a role in influencing a child’s mind, especially at such a young age, including public school environment, attitude of friends and too much restrictions imposed by parents.
Telling your child that if he does not study he might fail and would have to repeat the same grade is an example of teaching your child the possible consequences of his behavior. After many such examples, your child eventually starts recognizing that he is responsible for certain actions and that these actions only cause inconvenience and sometimes embarrassment to his parents.
While trying to develop a sense of responsibility in your child, do not forget or overlook your child’s age. Telling the right thing is important, but even more important is telling the right thing at the right time. When your child is old enough to understand why punishment is given, clearly tell your child what actions would bring what kind of punishments. Give warnings if things are not that serious and when they still fail to recognize their responsibility then punish your child accordingly.
Another good strategy is to observe your child silently and do nothing in case of a less serious damage. At the same time, without mentioning explicitly the mistake, tell your child how important it is to correct mistakes before it is too late. Many children notice the hint and immediately take a corrective step.
The most important thing to know while trying to develop a sense of responsibility in your child is to recognize his temperament and personality traits. Accordingly, a suitable approach should be followed. If possible, try to teach your child a lesson by bringing forth some of the consequences of his actions. At the same time, try not to interfere in every activity that your child engages in, otherwise, your child will start hiding things from you.
Children are naturally curious, and they should be given enough space to develop at their own pace. So, give your child a chance to explore the world on his own. If there is a need to interrupt, you should be available to give advice based on experience and observation.