Developing Respobsibility


Children are not born with a sense of responsibility. Nor does it develop automatically at a certain age. They need to be helped to become responsible, as this is part of growing up. No amount of telling them to be responsible will work – it needs to develop inside them by us passing on to them positive values and attitudes, and rather than always telling them what to do, allowing them space to work things out for themselves. 

We all know how very young children love to help and to be responsible for appropriate tasks, so it is a natural progression from there to help them to become independent individuals who will one day be able to function on their own without us. They are not carbon copies of us; they are unique individuals with different temperaments, different tastes, different feelings, different desires, different needs. 

Encouraging them to do things for themselves, to have their own ideas, to work out solutions for themselves and ultimately to be responsible for themselves is all part of the training they need in order to grow into rounded, balanced and confident individuals. They grow in confidence when they see that we trust them to take on some responsibility. 

To allow this development we first need to acknowledge that, as our children grow, we need gradually to let go. The first big wrench, often harder for the parents than the children, is when they go to school. For the children’s sake, we have to let go of our concerns and attachments as they discover they can operate independent of mother and father at school. 

When they can figure out for themselves what they want to do or need to do, they grow in confidence. 

Of course, we are there to help and guide, but we need to allow them space and time, and encourage this 

Independence, rather than jumping in too quickly with our suggestions or habitually doing things for them which they are perfectly capable of doing themselves. With positive encouragement and praise, they will happily respond to the challenge of growing up. 

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