How Can I Build My Child’s Sense Of Responsibility?
Part of the "Q & A for Parents of Middle School Students" series
Responsibility is a big part of life, and it is the job of parents and teachers to help students develop this skill. Children should be responsible for things even at an early age - washing the dishes, doing house chores, going to bed on time, etc. Often, as parents, we remind and direct our children in these activities. As young people enter middle school, more responsibility is placed on them, they may now be babysitting or helping fix meals, and less direct supervision by parents should be provided, especially regarding schoolwork. Homework is much more abundant, and learning to meet school deadlines can become a major challenge.
So, you're wondering how to build this responsibility? Start by checking to be sure your child knows what his/her responsibilities are as well as your expectations. Add a time schedule so they know when you would like the responsibility to be completed (i.e. homework needs to be done by 8:00 pm, in bed by 9:30pm). If there are other specific items that need to be finished, post a list for your child to see. Help the student set goals for accomplishing both home tasks and school tasks. Try to help build accountable for setting up and following through on goals pick a person to have your child share their goals with — someone who will check up and make sure they are following the guidelines of the goal. Meeting goals builds responsibility as well as personal satisfaction when the child has accomplished what they set out to do.
- Bean, R. (1991). How to help your children succeed in school. New York, NY: Price Stern Sloan Publishing.
- Cline, F. & Fay, J. (1992). Parenting teens with love & logic. Colorado Springs, CO: Pinon Press.
- Kelly, Kate. 1996). The complete idiot's guide to parenting a teenager. New York: Alpha Books.
- Panzarine, S. (2000). A parent's guide to teen years: Raising your 11- to 14- year old in the age of chat rooms and navel rings. New York: Checkmark Books.
- Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers, Congress of Teachers Website, (2002). Patchogue, NY. Helping Your Child: Homework)
- Ramsey, R. (2000). 501 ways to boost your child's success in school. Lincolnwood, IL: McGraw-Hill.
- Spolton, S & Spolton, C. (1998). Topmarks Education Website. UK. (Helping with Homework)
Debra Eckerman Pitton, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Middle Level Education at Gustaus Adolphus College in St. Peter , MN and consults with school districts across the country on issues of mentoring and middle school education. firstname.lastname@example.org