Sunday, August 19, 2012
Children Crave Responsibility
As a relatively young parent, I have learned very much about parenting in just a short while. As parents, we have a huge responsibility to help mold our children into the wonderful people that we know they will one day become. This is possible through the style of parenting that you choose to implement within your home. I am not a fan of any single parenting style, but think that in order to be the best parents you can be you need to be well versed in each. You have to incorporate portions of each parenting style depending upon the situation. Sometimes being an authoritarian is necessary in order to teach boundaries. Sometimes you need to be authoritative to teach respect. Sometimes you need to be indulgent to teach value. Sometimes you need to be disengaged to give freedom so your children can put what you have taught them to use. There is no true way to be a great parent without utilizing all of these styles.
My lovely girls are ages four and six. The time I get to spend with them is incredibly important to me. I only have my children three days a week. This means I have to be a full-time daddy in less than half the time. My children live in two very different environments with two very different perspectives. As of late, I have been on a mission to teach them the value of hard work and responsibility. It has not been as hard as one might think.
I have learned that children crave structure. They need it and they thrive within it. They need consistency and they need stability. This comes with having a schedule. In our home, we have a set schedule that admittedly, changes slightly from time to time, but the core structure of the schedule will remain in place. This helps my wife and I get our children into a routine. Once they are in a routine, they know what to expect and when to expect it. Stability is vital to structure.
Not only do children crave structure but also they need responsibility. Responsibility is not something that you throw on a child, they are children, and responsibility requires teaching. The way we have worked responsibility into our home is that my children know I have expectations of them. These expectations are not astronomical. I do not want to overwhelm them. We have started teaching responsibility by giving them simple chores. We designed a chore chart that works as a reward system. Each time our children do a chore, they earn a star. Once they have earned five stars, they have earned a heart. Once they have earned a heart, they have earned a dollar. Once they have five hearts, they have five dollars and my wife and I take them shopping to let them spend the money they have earned. This system has been incredibly successful. It has taught them the value of their efforts and has taught them the responsibilities that I expect them to maintain.
Being a parent is an ongoing learning process. For me, I receive something new each week. I love it. It is a lifestyle that is unparalleled by any other. I love it because my children are amazing and I learn something new constantly. I am watching them develop and I am so proud of the little people they are now. As I teach them responsibility, they teach me better ways to be a daddy. The system we have in place has taught them how to be responsible in a structured environment and the value of their hard work and efforts. Children crave structure and responsibility. It is our responsibility as parents to allow them to experience it to prepare them to be able to handle themselves as they grow into the amazing people we know they will be.
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