Responsibility doesn’t come naturally to everyone. While some people seem to have everything under control from a young age, others need a bit of help achieving accountability. It’s a natural part of the aging process – but what if your child seems to be lagging behind? Maturity comes at different times and ages for different children, some a lot later than others. If you’re concerned that your child isn’t going to be a responsible adult (or you want to amp up their already impressive responsibility levels) we’ve got some ideas that could come in handy.
Reward Positive Behaviors
Now, we don’t mean that they deserve a treat every time they take out the garbage. Instead, focus on verbal approval. Thank them for doing chores, and point out when they do something right. Your positive attitude (and reinforcing their good behavior) will motivate them to do their best, even when they’re not thrilled about their chores.
Give Them Chores
Kids may groan, but chores around the home can be a big boost to their responsibility. You don’t need to overwhelm them with obligations (they have plenty on their plate with school and social life already), but they should contribute in some way to the upkeep of the home. Have them clear the table after dinner, or help take out the garbage. A simple daily chore will not only make them feel responsible, but it will also make them feel like they are contributing to the family as a whole.
Consider Boarding School
College prep boarding schools can prove an excellent way for kids to be more responsible. Without the comforts of home (and their parents) to fall back on, students have been known to rise admirably to the occasion. At boarding school, they’ll be expected to keep track of their assignments and extracurricular activities, as well as maintain their dorm. Not only is it a great introduction to college life, it will teach your child the ins and outs of being responsible.
Find Them A Job
Or, to be more accurate, have them find a job. Don’t do any of the legwork; instead, have them investigate and decide where they’d like to work. Help them with the application process if needed, but make sure that your child is the one running the show. Once they have a job, it’s all down to them: their parents can’t be on hand to help them out. While it may be tough, particularly when they get started, few things inspire responsibility quite like a part-time job. And when they’ve done it themselves, that first paycheck will mean the world to them.
Be Clear About Consequences
Even the most well-behaved kids act out from time to time – it’s part of being a kid, after all. When your child acts out, make sure the consequences are clear and consistent. Don’t change things around on the fly; that only serves to confuse children, or at least convince them they can get away with stuff. Make them accountable for their actions and decisions. When they know they’ll have to own their choices, children will think twice before behaving in an irresponsible way.