Responsibility: Child and Parent

What are the responsibilities of both the Parent and the Child.

When we are young, we know very little about real Responsibility, but at some stage in life we NEED to learn it.

Some of us learn this at a younger age than others.

Some parents aid us in this, by making us act with independence at an earlier age, but others protect their children too much and delay this vital learning stage.

For those who have been delayed by the overprotective parent, they may find it harder to gain this responsibility and independence, even though they want, and expect, this independence.  It is however, vital that individual responsibility is achieved by the time that independence is needed.

How do parents teach responsibility?

I wonder what most children think is the answer to this.  I wonder what I thought?  I am pretty sure that I didn’t like the process 🙂  Maybe that is one of the reasons that I never wanted children, I couldn’t face the thought of forcing a child to experience the pain that I felt that I went through.

So, what should a parent do?  It is a bit late for me to be asking this now, but here are my thoughts.

  • We make sure that the children do various jobs around the house; and that we don’t do everything for them.
  • If we tell them that they have to do something, we must not end up doing it for them, when they don’t do it on time.

If we promise a consequence, if something is not done, we must follow through on that consequence, no matter how hard it is for us to do this.

  • If we do follow through, with a consequence, then the child learns the effects of not doing what they need to do.
  • If we do NOT follow through, with a consequence, then the child learns that it is easier to just not bother, and take the lazy way of life, with no responsibilities.

Most parents will feel they are doing the right thing while they are protecting their child, but at some stage they learn that they should have done things differently, that they should have been a bit harder with their child, so that the child learns to protect themselves, by using responsibility in their own actions.

Now, when the child needs to learn to look after themselves, some have to do it alone, and that must be so hard on them. This could hurt the parents heart much more than if they had been harder in the earlier years.

How does a child handle learning this “responsibility” stage, at a later age?

This question is hard to answer for me.  I learned responsibility early, and in what I felt was a hard way.  Now I realise that maybe it could have been worse, if I had to enter adult life with no prior learning.

A child being let loose in adult life today, without having learned responsibilities needs to make a big effort to learn quickly and try to get things right.  And some have to do it without the guiding hand of a parent.  For these children, they need to put in extra effort, and dedicate their mind to reaching individual goals.

I would love to hear other people’s advice on this, but my feelings are that a child in this situation should not think of EVERYTHING at once, but just one type of task at a time.  If they consider everything, then they may just feel overwhelmed, and incapable of reaching the end.

They should think of what their parents may have tried, or should have tried…  One task at a time:

Speaking to the child now… Do you remember being asked to:

  • Tidy your room before going out.
  • Wash the dishes after eating.
  • Put your toys away when you are finished.

Simple little things, but things that prepare you for your future life, without you even realising.

Well, now is the time to tell yourself these things.  Bit by bit, teach yourself habits that you will appreciate, for yourself, in later years.

Remember, you are NOT doing these things for someone else; you are doing them for YOURSELF, to teach yourself responsibilities that will aid you in the rest of your life.

The reward, that you will get, may not be the approving smile of a parent, or some extra pocket money, but it should be seen as self-satisfaction, the feeling of achievement in your own life, and knowing that you are learning the life skills that are needed for many years to come.

These things may seem easy to some children, but may be like climbing mountains to others… Well, if it seems like climbing a mountain to you, think of the self-satisfaction that you will feel after you succeed in climbing that mountain, and trust me, you WILL succeed.

For those who feel daunted by everything, I ask you to look around, look at the disabled people, see how much they can achieve.  How do they do it? They TRY..  It is as simple as that.  They make the effort, for THEMSELVES, they do not do it for someone else, they do it for themselves.

For some children who have become accustomed to everything being done by the parents, all they need to do is call out “Mum!” or “Dad!”, and the problem is solved.   But now they need to stop for a moment and think…. “How would Mum or Dad have fixed this before” and then try it themselves.  Also, remember that Mum or Dad didn’t always fix everything right “first time”, they got it wrong too, although you may not have noticed.  But they tried again and maybe again, until they did fix the problem for you.

“Anything is Possible”…  That is an old saying, and it is actually true.  But only if we want it, and we are prepared to sacrifice some time, to try to achieve it.

What are YOUR thoughts?  Does this make sense to you, either as a Parent or a Child?


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