Responsibility vs. Entitlement

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him. 
-Booker T. Washington


Placing responsibility on our children enhances their self -esteem by giving them a sense of accomplishment and showing them that we trust that they are capable of meeting their obligations.  It is also an effective way to discourage a sense of entitlement in which children expect that everything will be done for them instead of learning to do things for themselves. Here are some ways for parents to encourage responsibility and raise self-esteem: 

-Assign chores. Make the chores age appropriate; a 3 year old can pick up toys and put them in a basket; a 6 year old can help set and clear off the dinner table; a 9 year old can dust the furniture.

-Hold children accountable for their behavior. Help children understand both the positive and negative consequences of their behavior. For instance, if they do their homework before they go out to play then they can stay out longer. That would be a positive consequence. It helps them understand the ramifications of their choices.

– Resist the temptation to do too much for your kids. While we want to help them we must allow them to do things themselves. You can’t learn to walk if someone is holding you up all the time. We have to allow our children to fall down a few times. As long as it’s not a safety issue (like letting them cross the street without your guidance) then giving them the chance to learn for themselves is a good thing.

By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator

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