I once heard someone say that a parent’s goal should be to work herself out of a job. Which means, we should teach our kids responsibility and train them to manage the tasks required to meet their basic needs. It sounds so easy and logical, but making it happen comes with some challenges.
Thankfully, God has placed some wise, more experienced mommas in my life to show me the ropes. Here are some principles that I have learned from them.
How to Teach Kids Responsibility
Don’t Do for a Child What They Can Do for Themselves
Several times in my parenting journey, I found myself dressing my preschool-age daughter, something she was perfectly capable of doing. Or, I jumped in and spoke for my teenage son, wishing to avoid confusion or merely to keep things simple. But I realize that in doing what they could do themselves, I was not allowing my children to learn and perfect their skills. Yes, it takes an extended amount of time, but responsibility training is worth it. If you are unsure what responsibilities are age-appropriate for your child, check out this free printable list.
Think Beyond Basic Chores
I’ve realized that responsibility training (for teens especially) extends beyond making meals and doing laundry. Teaching responsibility includes training the child to initiate conversations with teachers, set alarms and timers, and schedule events. Eventually, kids need to know how to pay bills, set up services with a utility company, and do minor home repairs. It can be helpful to recall the skills you wish someone would have taught you before you began living independently and then take the initiative to pass those on to your children.
Obedience vs Responsibility
While obedience is vital, I desire my children to take responsibility even when not asked to. Instead of doing something just enough to get by or only because it is on a list of chores, teaching responsibility involves opening the child’s eyes to what needs to be done around them and doing their best no matter what the task. This transforms responsibility into servanthood.
TRAIN YOUR EYES TO SEE WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND YOUR HEART TO DO IT.
– Author Unknown
Remember God’s Desire for Parenting
It is easy to say that it is our parenting responsibility to work ourselves out of a job, but achieving that goal can be difficult. Everything inside of me wants to keep my children close and away from harm. I want to do things for my children because I love them. But Genesis 2:24 states that when our sons and daughters get married, they are to leave their father and mother and be joined together, and the two are united into one. When I understand that one of my roles as a parent is to prepare them for this unification, I see the need to develop in my child a heart of responsibility.
Most of the time teaching responsibility isn’t easy or fun. And there are times that we show love and grace by doing tasks for our children. But watching children grow into responsible men and women is one of the most rewarding things we will experience as parents.
Download this Responsibility Motto and hang it around the house where your kids can see it!