A Lesson on Tough Love
Nobody likes when a person can’t accept responsibility. Not when they’re a child, and certainly not as an adult. One of the toughest tasks in parenting is teaching your kids to step up to the plate and take action. And suffer consequence if they don’t.
Raising happy, mature, and well-mannered children requires you to add some responsibility into their lives. The following tips will help you inspire them to complete tasks while being proud to do it.
Start instilling responsibility during the toddler phase for best results. The older kids get the more likely they’ll continue to rely on you, especially to complete small and mundane tasks. If your kid is constantly asking you what there is to eat when the kitchen is only a few steps away, you might be raising a future man-child who you’ll end up cooking for and living with.
Instead of sending your kid off to find their own snack or meal, the lesson here has to be more inspiring. Teach your child how to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime. Ask your little ones to participate during meal-prep, and require them to complete small chores. Many times they’ll be happy to join you and to grow and learn. On top of that, housework is something that provides a sense of pride. If your child grows up watching you run the vaccuum, will he really ever consider how and why to use a toilet brush? Instilling a sense of cleanliness teaches responsibility in all areas of life.
As tempting as it might be, monetary rewards can be a double-edged sword. You’ll probably get the help you need when you’re tossing money into the mix. Guess what happens when you don’t? No money. No work. You can’t rely on allowances to teach responsibility. Your child should be taught the importance of chipping in and be held accountable simply because he’s a family member and shares space. Everyone has to contribute when living together. No reward for that.
This same principle can be carried into your parenting structure and routine. Unless your kids have gotten up and brushed their teeth and washed their face, they shouldn’t be hanging on to their mobile device first thing in the morning. This isn’t optional rules, child-led parenting. It’s the way things need to be if you want to maintain a sense of order and routine. If your child can’t manage to perform her daily tasks without having to be reminded of threatened for bad behavior, there’s nothing more to do than having them suffer the consequence.
And that’s called Tough. Love. Don’t bail your child out or come to their rescue each time they make a mistake. Many times watching them suffer will hurt you even more. Perhaps you had to ground him and he ended up missing the best party of the year. Or she forgot her riding boots and today, can’t go to the stable. There will be many times that you have to stand your ground and just say no.
And by saying no today, you’re saying yes to tomorrow. Yes to a future where she’ll learn the importance of keeping her word, and where he learns a messy bed, has to be made.
These life lessons will help them be the best partner to their future lovers while becoming a person of substance, integrity, and pride. Teaching responsibility starts with YOU. And it’s one of your most important jobs of all.