20 Feb Helping or Hurting: Tips for Teaching Children Responsibility
School is now in full swing! Congratulations, you and your family have successfully survived the back-to-school madness. The teachers have all been met, the physicals complete, school supplies purchased, and the homework is pouring in.
When a parent receives the frantic text from their teen, the note from the teacher, or the tearful story from their first grader, stating an assignment was forgotten, not turned in, forever lost… how should they react?
Children, adolescents and teens are not adults, but one day they will be. Here are some practical tips for teaching children responsibility while young, thus setting them up for success as they enter new life stages, and eventually reach adulthood.
Set Your Children Up for Success: 3 Tips for the School Year and All Year
Everyone needs help getting organized; help your child get and stay organized when it comes to all things academic.
- Designate a place for your child to keep their backpack (think cubby, wall hook etc.)
- Have a designated folder for homework/papers that are to be turned in to school
- Have your child prep their bag each night- try a daily check list to promote independence
Let Them Fail, Let Them Grow: 3 Lessons Learned Through Failure
Everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. But when parents habitually bail their children out, their children are denied the chance to learn from their mistakes. Here are a few examples:
- Failing to check their backpack and forgetting an item teaches children self-responsibility, but Mom/Dad checking, double checking and packing all items does not.
- Failing to turn in assignments on time teaches adolescents the importance of deadlines, but Mom/Dad rushing the homework to school every time it is forgotten does not.
- Failing a test teaches teens the importance of studying/time management, but Mom/Dad making excuses about their busy schedule to school board does not.
Teach, Don’t Shame: 3 Tips for Dealing with Mistakes
It is easy to become frustrated when children forget to complete an assignment, lose the permission slip, or fail to inform adults they need help with homework. Try these tips for teaching children responsibility by dealing with the mistakes in a helpful and teaching manner, not a shameful one.
- Let natural consequences happen. Lost credit, missed points, lower grades – these are all natural consequences.
- Don’t expect perfection; stop berating. Natural consequences have lasting effects, berating only isolates the child/teen from seeking help in future.
- Empathize, but also offer solutions. Let your children know that failure happens; offer helpful solutions. Remind children that you are on their side and support them, but you cannot do the work/rescue them every time
Children, adolescents, teens and parents make mistakes; mistakes and failings teach us life lessons. Setting children up for success prevents a good portion of failings, it also teaches them to take responsibility for their own work. When children do fail, remember to offer both support, and solutions.
Julia earned her Masters of Social Work from Asbury University in Kentucky. While in graduate school, Julia specialized in child and family services. Prior to pursuing her masters, Julia earned her Bachelors in Human Services/Pre-Counseling.
Julia has a background in child and adolescent therapy. The majority of her clinical work is with parents, children, and teens. Julia has been working with children and families since 2012 in transitional living, foster care, schools, private practice and community mental health. Julia has extensive experience working with Academic Achievement, Attention Deficit/ Hyper Activity, Anger Management/ Mood Dysregulation, Anxiety, Grief and Abuse/Trauma.