By Cassie Rice
Raising kids with personal responsibility is one of the best qualities they can learn to ensure a happy adult life. It cannot be given to them, but you can help them learn personal responsibility by being there for them, yet not being there for them. What do I mean by this? Well, being there for them to bail them out, give them excuses, or solve their problems is not being there for them as a great parent. But being there for them to help them develop their reasoning skills, working with them to solve their own problems and helping them look for things they can change is REALLY BEING THERE FOR THEM.
Here’s an example of how you can help your kids improve their personal responsibility. One of your child’s teachers is disappointed with the effort your child gave on an essay she wrote, the teacher points out that she’s not meeting the standards and he believes has not shown enough time and effort. Your child is pretty upset that her teacher pointed out that she may have fallen short on her effort. Now she’s home from school and crying about how she feels. She is mad at her teacher for making her feel this way. You also start feeling upset that someone made your little girl cry (Reminder: There may be some over-reaction by your child here). She didn’t have much time to work on the essay but thinks she spent enough time on it and believes she gave it a good effort. What can you do?
I recommend talking to them and trying (albeit extremely difficult to do) to take emotions out of it. Instead, talk to your child about the effort put in on her side. Could she have spent more time on the essay? Could she have worked a little harder? Did she really not have enough time or is that an excuse because of less than excellent time management skills? Did she have distractions in the room when she was working on this essay? What can she change so next time she avoids this situation? Empowering your child with steps she could take to improve a future situation is allowing your child to grow as a person and become a responsible adult.
Cassie Rice has been working with children and their parents for more than decade. She has received numerous awards and accolades; most recently US Gymnastics named Cassie the 2009 Regional Coach of the Year.