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Taking responsibility is one of the most defining milestones in an individual’s personality development towards adulthood.
When a person learns to accept the way they feel, think and behave. They can then have a better control of their lives and become socially responsible individuals. As children, we tend to blame others for our own mistakes and mishaps but as we grow up we learn to take responsibility.
However, many individuals may not change their perspective even when they become adults; they may continue to blame external factors for their problems. By holding on to a past method of coping, a person may experience difficulty in adjusting to the present in adult life.
Responsibility is often hard to accept.
Especially because it may carry a risk of dealing with difficult emotions like shame or guilt that one would rather avoid. A child may learn about responsibility positively in a home environment that is non- judgmental and based on unconditional love and acceptance. Read books about taking responsibility to discuss this topic in detail with your child. He/she would then be able to openly talk about how he/ she feels and thinks without feeling shame and guilt. Then there will also be no need to blame anyone.
Responsibility is a practice and is learned through a process.
It begins with learning to take care of their own belongings such as one’s school bag and toys. Also, an understanding of how one’s own behaviour has consequences. For example, if the child does not complete the homework. Parents usually get worried and help them to finish it. But if you say, “OK! that’s your responsibility.” Then the child will learn the cause and effect relationship of his or her own behaviour when they are questioned about it in the class next day.
On a personal note, I have observed how little children tend to hand over their sweet/chocolate wrappers and other trash to their moms or dads after they finish eating them. It may seem inconspicuous but it is an important life lesson to tell your little one gently to throw his/her own trash in the dustbin and then appreciate them genuinely, for it is a big step towards taking responsibility later on.
As parents, it is our primary goal to make sure that we bring up our children as responsible adults to equip them for a better future.
Written by: Saher Ali – Counseling Psychologist, Life Compass