How To Help Your Kid Understand The Importance Of Responsibility


One of the toughest aspects of being a parent is getting your children to understand the responsibility that you face every day, and which they will face when they grow up. Any adult, whether they are a parent or not, has responsibilities that they need to act within. That is, in part, why you might say at the age of seven “When I’m older I’m going to have chocolate for breakfast every day”, and realize by the age of 27 that that would be a very bad idea.

In many ways, it’s a nice problem to have if your kids think that you are above all concerns and that you can solve any problem at the drop of a hat. It’s also something that you need to underline isn’t reality. The more that they understand the responsibilities you have, the more they will understand the importance of learning to deal with responsibilities when they are older – and the smoother beginning to adulthood you can offer them.

Understanding why we work

A lot of children don’t like school, and many actively hate it. They look at adults, who go to work every day and get paid for it, and they are envious. It’s hard for them to conceive of the idea that an adult would do anything they don’t want to do, given all the power they imagine we have. At some stage, kids need to know why we work. If we had our druthers, we’d be indulging in a hobby or heading off on holiday, but we work because that’s what allows us to have a roof over our heads, food on the table and fuel in the car – or even a car at all. Explaining that to a child without making it sound like work is a prison – and therefore worrying them sick – is a fine balancing act.

Understanding what things cost

Kids are resourceful, and before too long, they will often put two and two together and understand how much you earn – and they’ll believe you’re rich. If they’ve never had their hands on more than three figures’ worth of money, they’ll believe you can afford anything. Explaining all of the things you have to pay for can be tough without pulling out all of your bills and statements – which is a little severe. You can, however, show them pages from Edmunds that explain how much you had to pay for the car, and show them what homes in your area cost – helping them to realize that there’s often not much left out of your wage.

Understanding why you keep a cool head

We’ve all fallen around laughing when a child too young to know better says something adorably blunt. Usually, part of the reason is we know they’ve heard it from a parent, and the resulting social awkwardness is exquisite if you don’t have to deal with it. You can’t always say what you think – none of us can – and that can be hard for kids to really process. It’s important to explain to them that a lot of people don’t like it when you speak every thought that comes into your head. It can lose you friends and, as an adult, it can lose you opportunities. There are times to speak out – when someone is hurting them, for example – and times to keep your counsel. You can help them see where that line should be.

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