Raising Kids to be Responsible Adults - (a part of a series)

Available from Amazon

In my capacity of Youth Worker, I've been writing a series of articles about how to raise kids to be responsible adults. Here is the first part of one of them. This one deals with entrusting them with the decision of how to behave. These articles will be collated into a book, at a later date.

This only works if you've already built up years and years of good and proper training. Naturally, it is only sensible to use with slightly older children - 8 years and over.

I believe that kids should be disciplined, and am an advocate for loving, supportive, but firm and consistent parenting.

I am paid to enable and direct teenagers into well-rounded and productive adults. However, as a keen and experienced gardener, I also know that if it's not already impossible to straighten an almost fully-grown wayward tree, it takes years of hard grafts, lots of garden twine and burly props, if it is to be done.

Kids who already have a foundation in training should, when it comes to arbitrary situations, be given a choice of how to behave. For instance, one of their weekly chores is washing up three days a week after dinner. However, they decide on one of these evenings that they'd rather watch television.

Instead of ordering them to do the dishes "or else...," you may say something like, "Right, you can choose to not do your job tonight, but this means that someone else will have to do it. This is fine, but as we are a family and we all have to do our jobs for the home to run smoothly, that person would have an extra job to do today.
It would only be fair, that this person who's burdened with the extra job, gets something special for it. Here are your choices, 1. The person who does your job gets (and here you choose something that would means a lot to your individual child, my son would be most upset if you took away his dessert or his favourite Saturday evening programme) your dessert tonight. 2. You swap your washing-up with one of (put in the designated name)'s tasks. 3. You do it tonight, get it out of the way, and everything is back to normal."

This sounds manipulative because it is, but it does not take away the responsibility from our children. On the contrary, it hands it over. By making this decision himself, he does not feel forced into doing his chores, but feels in control of the choices he makes.

Being a parent means that you are at the helm, being in this position behoves you to constantly find ways of making your child feel responsible and in control of a small part of his/her life, while keeping firm hold of your authority.

Read the book here.

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BC Doan November 21, 2008 at 3:52 PM  

This is wonderful Anne!

I'm learning some new technique from you today!

Anne Lyken-Garner November 22, 2008 at 4:43 PM  

Thanks BC. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

Monique November 27, 2008 at 7:12 PM  

Good post Anne.

I did have loads of teenage problems with both my daughters. I must have done something right because they are now wonderfully grown up young women.

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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