Ideally, most people should learn responsibility on their own as they age. As your kids get older, they should take lessons from what they see you and other adults doing and springboard from there.
But it never hurts to help them along a little with some concrete lessons in how to be a good and responsible person.
There is always more that kids can learn that they didn’t know before. And they wouldn’t know unless you taught them.
So, if you want to teach your children responsibility, you should gather together some hard lessons you’ve learned over the years and present those to your kids.
Here are a few you can start with.
Teach Them How to Save
Not every dollar is meant to be spent right away. Some money should always be put away to be spent later. This is a good lesson to teach any child, especially as they get a little older and start making money through allowances or jobs.
While they’re saving that money away, they can also work to find good deals in otherwise more expensive things. Show them a used kids clothing store instead of taking them to all the expensive chain stores. It can only help them later.
Explain the Reasons for Things
Children will be much better at learning how to be in the world if they know the reasons for why they are doing what you tell them.
Explain the importance of locking the doors as you go out. Tell them why you don’t speed when you drive. Tell them why vegetables are more important than cookies.
If they know why they should do one thing and not another, they can more easily adapt to the new ways of life.
Give Rewards Where Appropriate
When you’re first teaching your kids how to do things responsibly, don’t be afraid to offer rewards for successful completions. We don’t want this to become just an exercise in getting things, but if you make the rewards realistic, you can teach your kids that there are benefits of being responsible.
For instance, if your kids help to water the garden, you can show them the food you have both helped to grow for your family.
It’s a kind of conditioning to be sure, but the rewards still come in adult life when you behave responsibly. Saving money means you can afford nicer things later, so do your best to explain all this to your kids as you go.
Ideally, once you do these things for long enough, your children should get the idea and be able to tell what the responsible thing is in any given situation. You will always be there to guide them, but at least now they will be able to think of these things for themselves.
And that means you would have done your job. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Your kids can be smarter than you think they are.