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Why We Don’t Give Our Children Responsibility

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Too Scared to Give Our Children Responsibility

I spoke to a sold out crowd of over 220 people at Richland Academy in Richmond Hill.  The talk was about responsibility.  How do we help our children to assume responsibilities? The short answer: GIVE IT TO THEM!

Most families I know do not give their children responsibilities because of one of the following:

  • It’s faster to do things themselves
  • We like things done a certain way so we just do it ourselves
  • We don’t believe they are capable

and the biggy…

  • We don’t have a clue what to do when they don’t follow through on their responsibility, so we let them off the hook and just do it ourselves!

When we step in, children learn that they don’t need to.  They come to expect that mom and dad are standing in the wings ready to intervene and save them from their rightful jobs.

A great first step would be to simply let our children experience the outcomes of NOT assuming their responsibilities.  If you don’t put your laundry in the laundry basket – it doesn’t get washed.  If you don’t load the dishwasher mom doesn’t begin preparing the next meal.  If you leave your mitts on the school yard, you need to dig into your own allowance to replace them.  If you don’t get to the breakfast table on time you miss out on breakfast.

What responsibilities are you rescuing your child from assuming?  Why not try to let go yourself and let the chips fall where they may!  Keep you attitude positive and show faith that your child will figure it out the benefits and ways of handle their responsibilities all by themselves.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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2 Responses to “Why We Don’t Give Our Children Responsibility”

  1. Mara

    I like the idea of a natural consequence (e.g. don’t do laundry = dig dirty clothes out of the hamper). But what if their chore impacts me? E.g. if they don’t do the dishes after school = I don’t have the space I need to make dinner? I can share the impact for me, but what if it doesn’t seem to have an impact?

    • Alyson Schafer

      Thanks for the question. In the case of the dishes not done after school, then don’t make dinner. Let them know “when the kitchen is in cooking order, I’ll start dinner”. Yes, you’ll be eating late the first night or so, but they will eventually connect that not unloading the dishwasher slows down when they eat. And if it helps, I brought this up at a family meeting with my own children. We decided it was better for all that their chores where non-time sensitive ( like dusting / vaccuming / yard work) and I did the time urgent things that would foul up things if they were not done.


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