Talking about Responsibility

Most kids would rather be outside playing or spending time with their friends than doing chores or taking on extra responsibilities. However, there are things that need to be done, whether we like them or not. Talking to your kids about responsibilities can help them understand the importance of teamwork and contribution to the family.

  • Talk about why doing household chores is important. Chores keep your home clean and enjoyable. They teach responsibility and help you make decisions. You can take pride in doing a job well, and everyone in a family is happier when everyone does her or his share.
  • Older teenagers often can’t wait to be adults. Talk to your teenager about how responsibilities go hand-in-hand with the freedoms of adulthood. Make sure he knows that even though you won’t be around to remind him of his chores all the time, he is growing into a mature person who can get things done with or without a parent watching over him.
  • Some kids—-especially younger teenagers—-believe they have time only for friends and will make excuses for everything else. Wanting to be with friends is developmentally appropriate, but your child needs to learn that both family and friends are important. Set guidelines, such as how many meals you want to eat together as a family and other activities you’d like your child to do, such as household chores. Be clear that every person has to find a balance between spending time with their friends and their home lives.
  • Tell your child that privileges come with responsibilities. It may seem like adults can do whatever they want, whenever they want, but they also have to go to work every day and take care of their families and their households.

Taking on new responsibilities is an important part of growing up—but it can also be a difficult one. Kids are often resistant to being assigned new chores, but will gladly accept new privileges. By helping your children understand that responsibilities are a necessary part of life, you’ll help shape their attitude into a positive one.