As a mother of multiple children ranging in age from 26 to 11, I have always tried to encourage my children to take responsibility for their actions and their goals they set for themselves. As a licensed professional and a former school teacher, I constantly find myself calling on those skills prompting other parents to do the same.
Recently, my 12 year old son, Sean, wanted to purchase a video game. He was discussing his plan with his dad. His dad looked up Sean’s savings account balance at our bank and informed him that he did not have enough money. After the discussion, I found Sean sitting on the couch looking like he had lost his best friend. He appeared extremely sad. When I asked him what was wrong, he told the story to me about his lack of money to purchase a video game that he wanted to play.
I informed him that he could make money if he did extra jobs around the house. I asked him if he wanted me to show him the list I kept of extra household jobs with the monetary amounts for each job listed.
His face suddenly lit up with excitement and he said, “Yes!” I’ve never seen him that excited about household chores. I gave him the list and he got right to work. He earned $25 in less than 3 hours and I got some much needed house work done.
After Sean had completed the jobs and the money was transferred to his account, my husband and I let him know how proud we were of him for working hard to get something he wanted. We told him that what he did was an example of taking responsibility for himself and his own needs and wants.
Teaching your children how to take ownership and responsibility for their own goals, and then working towards those goals is a huge part of parenting.
Here are some tips for encouraging responsibility when working with children ages 7 to 17:
Encouraging responsibility early in your child’s life is a way to inform them that you value their input and have confidence in them to complete a task or job. Children will need self confidence and good judgment as they grow into adults. Accomplishment of an assigned responsibility will set the stage for repeated success as adults.
The hard part for me as a parent is watching them fail at times. I have to do a great deal of positive self-talk when I see one of my children working hard to accomplish a goal they were striving for over a period of time. I have to remind myself that the achievement is sometimes in the doing of something and not always in achieving.
There are resources available to you if you need help with developing parenting skills or your child is struggling in a certain area. You may need a second opinion and there are several places to seek help. Here are a few:
Parenting is not meant to be done alone. Build your team of resources starting with the list above.
Nicole Wallace , LCMHC
Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor with over 20 years of experience helping
clients with overcoming trauma, managing life transitions, and developing coping skills. She
specializes in helping women between the ages of 18 and 55 heal from anxiety, depression,
trauma, and life transitions. Nicole’s goal is to help women transform their thoughts and in turn
transform their lives. It is in that spirit that she opened her mental health group private practice
called Transformation Counseling and Consulting, PLLC. Every therapist at the practice is
dedicated to the mission of assisting women and their families.
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