How to Raise Responsible Kids

Welcome back to the fourth and final article in our series on How to Raise Responsible Kids. A quick look back:

  • Part 1 – Defining responsibility as your kids are “able to be trusted to do what is right”
  • Part 2 – Exploring money responsibility – being trusted to make good use of the resources that come to them, regardless of how the resources show up in their lives
  • Part 3 – Considering relationship responsibility – being trusted to take responsibility for one’s choices, to communicate truthfully, to set appropriate boundaries, etc.

Part 4 discusses how to use your relationship with your kids’ other parent as a model to show your kids how to be responsible in relationships.  If your kids’ other parent is not in the picture, consider this as applicable to anyone close to you that your child sees you interacting with, including your own parents.

How we behave in relationship to (or about) our kids’ other parent may be the single biggest influence on our kids’ overall well-being and emotional/mental health.

Remember, your child is a reflection of both you and his/her other parent. If you speak poorly about that other parent, it has two significant negative impacts:

  1. Your child internalizes the negative comments about his other parent and begins to feel self hatred and may even stop trusting you, without even knowing what happened; and
  2. Your child sees it is okay to talk negatively about other people.

You don’t want to realize later in life that your interactions with your child’s other parent (or someone else close to you) are at the root of your child’s poor choices in relationships and his/her often not doing the right thing.

The good news is that it’s never too late to repair your relationships. It starts with you taking full responsibility and modeling that for your child. Then, follow these ideas to improve your relationships:

  • Listen – everyone wants to be heard and understood
  • Set aside time to focus on the other person – it can be as simple as acknowledging that you are doing something together  because of your relationship
  • Be civil when you disagree – remember “playground rules” – no insults, name-calling or throwing things; don’t make the other person wrong, don’t say he or she is stupid (to their face or to others)

When you show your kids what it means to be responsible and you trust yourself to do the right thing, by doing it you are well on your way to raising responsible kids.

Children, Family, LifeLessons