Salamat Dok: How to raise responsible kids

By Stefano Gelano, Salamat Dok Contributor

Posted at Jan 14 2014 02:52 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2014 09:59 PM

It is part of every parent's job to help their kids learn the importance of taking personal responsibility so they could ultimately grow into self-reliant, capable adults. Admittedly, this is easier said than done.

Start early

According to development and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Stella Guerrro Manalo of the The Medical City, the best way to teach children to be responsible is to start them off early doing small chores such as taking charge of putting away their soiled clothes and toys.

"Children are great at mimicking their parents and elder siblings so if, say the mother, shows them how to put away their things, they'll copy that. In other words, parents should be role models," Dr. Manalo said.

To be able to know which habits to impart, the parent has to consider the age of the child. For example, toddlers, according to Dr. Manalo, have to be supervised and monitored. Older children are easier to teach because they can already understand what's expected of them. Gradually, as the child grows older, a parent can introduce different age-appropriate responsibilities such as table setting, washing dishes and cleaning their rooms.

Set limitations and avoid yielding to pressure

Parenting experts all agree that kids need boundaries in order to learn about responsible and socially acceptable behavior, and those boundaries must be enforced consistently. Parents should never concede in the face of complaints or temper tantrums. Doing so only transmits the message that they can avoid tasks they don't want to do by yelling or crying hard enough, which is unacceptable.

Learning from Mistakes

As a parent, it's natural to want to protect your child from any traumatic feelings of hurt or disappointment. Nonetheless, doing so prevents them from making mistakes of their own. Certainly, mistakes and errors can be a source of regret, but parents need to understand they're also among the most powerful and effective learning experiences.

It is important to make children understand that there are rewards for being responsible and consequences for being irresponsible. According to Dr. Marsha Sauls, a psychologist and the Director of the Atlanta Institute for Individual and Family Therapy, because learning to be responsible requires positive reinforcement or rewards, good behavior can eventually be learned over time.

According to Dr. Sauls, "we all learn from our experiences; if your child is not learning what you want him or her to learn, change what they experience." – Segment Producer: Rowena Campoy, Multimedia Producer: Yam dela Cruz

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