Responsible Parenting-5: Train Children Independence & Responsibility
My 5 years experience with the youth has taught me some lessons which can be of use to parents:
- Lesson 1. Children who shoulder financial responsibilities of the family are more mature, responsible and competent than their counterparts.
- Lesson 2. Children who teach junior students to earn their pocket money are much clearer about the subjects that they teach than their counter parts.
- Lesson 3. Children who are involved in family decision making as adolescents, or young adults are more responsible and socially skilled than others.
- Lesson 4. Children who shouldered no responsibilities at home, were not involved in family matters and had easy access to money were less mature, responsible and socially competent than their counterparts.
- Lesson 5. Hostel life played a vital role in teaching teamwork and leadership.
This is the fifth and last blog in the series of “Responsible Parenting”. In this blog we shall discuss as to how parents can help to nurture more independent and responsible children.
Spoon Feeding Hampers Growth of Independence and Confidence
It is human nature to get into a comfort zone and not strive when the environment makes things easy. Spoon fed children do not develop the reasoning ability, maturity and competence which they would have developed if the parents had not provided the unwanted support. Right from early childhood parents should encourage children to do whatever they can without any support to develop their independence and confidence.
Assign Independent Responsibilities
Once a child can eat and dress itself it is time to train it for independent responsibilities like keeping toys, books and clothes neatly at assigned places. As the child grows it can be given following additional responsibilities (age: 6-10)
- Making his bed.
- Help in laying and clearing the food table.
- Polishing shoes.
In the later school stage (age: 11-15) the responsibilities could be:
- Cleaning the room.
- Washing own clothes.
- Help in cooking.
- Responsibility for garden work.
- Buying groceries.
- Paying bills.
- Involvement in domestic decisions and planning like travel and organising events.
At ages of 16 and above the youth can be assigned responsibilities like:
- Involvement in family business.
- Involvement in financial decisions.
- Travelling and undertaking jobs independently.
- Any responsibilities which the family can think of, including contributing to the family’s income.
Rich Parents where housework is done by Paid Help
In families where practically all the household work is done by paid help, the environment is unsuited for the growth of children. For such parents it is sensible to send their children to a good hostel for at least 3-4 years, ideally between 10 to 15 years of age.
Popular Concept: Being Uninvolved at Home Provides Scope to Focus on Studies
A lot many parents undergo hardships and keep the children away from all domestic responsibilities in the hope that the children will get greater time to focus on studies and will perform better. This is a total misconception. It is actually a sure recipe for the creation of irresponsible and incompetent youth. This should never be done and children must be involved in domestic responsibilities as stated earlier.
Conclusion: Responsible Parenting
This blog brings us to the end of the series on “Responsible Parenting”. In the four earlier blogs we have discussed important issues for parents as follows:
- Have faith in children
- Set personal example.
- Provide unconditional love.
- Don’t over control.
There are several other issues. However, it is my belief that if parents can utilize the essence of the points given in the five blogs they would succeed in contributing useful youth to the society.