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Top 10 Ways to Raise More Responsible Children

By Mark Brandenburg

1. Start them with tasks when they're young. Young kids have a strong desire to help out, even as young as age 2. They can do a lot more than you think, if you're patient and creative.

2. Don't use rewards with your kids. If you want your kids to develop an intrinsic sense of responsibility, they need to learn the" big picture" value of the things they do. They won't learn that if they're focused on what they're going to "get."

3. Use natural consequences when they make mistakes. If they keep losing their baseball glove somewhere, let them deal with the consequences. Maybe they have to ask to borrow one for the game. Maybe they have to buy a new one if it's lost. If you rescue them every time they screw up, they'll never learn responsibility.

4. Let them know when you see them being responsible. Specifically point out what you like about their behavior. This will make it more likely to
continue to happen.

5. Talk often about responsibility with your kids. Make responsibility a family value, and let them know it's important.

6. Model responsible behavior for your kids. This is where they'll learn it from. Take care of your stuff. Try to be on time.

7. Give them an allowance early in their life. Let them make their own money decisions from an early age. They'll learn their lessons in a hurry.

8. Have a strong, unfailing belief that your kids are responsible. They'll pick up on this belief and they'll tend to rise to the level of expectation.

9. Train them to be responsible. Use role play and talk to them about exactly what kind of behavior you expect from them. It's hard for kids to be responsible at times when they don't know what it looks like.

10. Get some help and support for your parenting.
It's hard to know sometimes whether you're being too controlling or too permissive as a parent. Talk to other parents, read books, join parent support groups -- whatever will help you feel like you're not alone.


Mark Brandenburg, MA, CPCC, CSC, is an author, speaker and certified relationship coach. He has worked with individuals, teams and families to improve their lives for more than 20 years. He is the author of a number of books for men, including 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers. Mark coaches parents from around the country through weekly telephone coaching sessions on balancing their lives and improving their parenting. He runs workshops and gives presentations for fathers and for parents that are enthusiastically received, as well as teleclasses for parents at MarkBrandenburg.com.

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