Teaching responsibility is R.A.D.

Responsibility is one of the character traits that parents want to see their children develop as they grow into adulthood. Parents know that being able to respond to the what is needed, expected or required in any circumstance we meet in life is critical for our reputation, relationships even self-esteem.

If we begin as we do with all of the virtues with the belief that all humans have all the attributes inside of them from the very beginning, the question is how do we help our child see it for themselves and discern the need to develop it fully? If responsibility is one of the virtues that are important in your family if it is one of your top 3-5 virtues you will want to envision and describe what ‘responsibility’ looks like in your family.

Take a few minutes to determine how you will know that you are responsible and what is the developmental stage of your child for developing their character of responsibility? Is there a chore they might be assigned – not as a job – but as their part of being on the team (the family). Describe for them some of the things in the household that mom, dad, and others do that the family depends on them doing.

Responsibility is about being Reliable, Accountable and Dependable. So if there is one person in the home that does the cooking talk about how others depend on the preparation of meals, the importance of reliability and how you feel accountable to give your best effort.

When it is time for your child to contribute to the family answer the questions of reliability, accountability, and dependability. Maybe the child is asked to serve the family by feeding the dog in the morning and the evening. What would show reliability on this assignment? Who is depending on them to complete the chore on time? How are they going to be held accountable? Is there a consequence for not contributing to the family by doing your task?

It may be that a checklist is needed to be sure the child (or even us parents) remember what we are responsible for in the family. Soon each member of the family is learning the roles they play, and others can depend on us to do what we say we will do and know that we will give our best effort.

The goal is that our contribution to the family chores is carried out in a super-responsible way. I mean the completion of duties without us being asked to do them or reminded that they need fulfillment – then we are showing responsibility in a super way. Chores, responsibilities, contributions to the welfare of the family can be discussed and divvied up at a planned family meeting, giving everyone the opportunity to ask for help and agree to what and how they will contribute to the team.

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