How much responsibility can a child carry?
Taking responsibility for oneself and others is one of the most important qualities that enable people to move around with social competence in everyday life. But when is the right time to transfer the first responsibility to one's own child, where is it overwhelmed?
There are many examples of how competent children take on responsibility: in some schools, it is common for the newly enrolled first graders to have mentors from the higher grades who help them find their way around in the beginning. In children's parliaments children take on social responsibility and seek together to improve their or the situation of other groups of people. And quite a few children are able to look after a pet reliably and independently at an early age. The foundation for these skills was laid early.
How is responsibility learned?
Like many other human abilities and characteristics, the sense of responsibility also develops to a large extent from the imitation of the parents. Responsible parents usually raise children who have a strong sense of responsibility.
Responsibility is defined as the ability to justify oneself for the consequences of one's own actions and also the actions of others. A person with a sense of responsibility knows what he is doing or has done, and is prepared to stand by it - no matter what the consequences of his actions. Responsible action means that you do not do anything you already know to have a negative effect: a mother who smokes during pregnancy is irresponsible, a father who only lets his child on a bicycle with a bicycle helmet responsibly.
Children learn to take on responsibility best by simply doing it. You take on a task and are responsible for fulfilling it. If they do not do it, the consequences are clear to them: the trash can overflows if it is not emptied. The dog pees into the apartment if he does not come out for a walk in time. The basis of the educational work is always that the transferred responsibility must also be provided by the child. Otherwise, the failure is inevitable, the child is frustrated and his self-esteem suffers.
Responsibility must be adapted to age
What can a child do without feeling overwhelmed and without necessarily failing? This question can only be answered individually, because the responsibility that a child can bear depends on the one hand on age and on the other on personal motivation. A child who is by nature very frugal can better take responsibility for pocket money than one who has many desires and spends his money in the blink of an eye. A child who loves dogs above all and acknowledges their nature will care for the animal better and more responsibly than one who sees a dog or other pet as a toy or status symbol.
Even small children can take the first responsibility: a three-year-old is perfectly capable of grasping that his job is to carry his plate to the sink. However, responsibility at this age should be handled very generously and more playfully. Because threatening a three-year-old child with consequences because he has forgotten to take his plate away is simply inappropriate. With increasing age, the responsibility increases as well:
From about four years, a child can take responsibility for a pet - but with the support of parents. From the age of seven, a child is legally responsible for his or her actions, except in cases where there is a proven lack of insight. It can differentiate between right and wrong. In everyday life, the child can now take responsibility for certain tasks: bring out garbage, clear the dinner table or provide a pet. If responsibility is not taken, sanctions make sense at this age. However, these should always have something to do with the thing itself. Punishing an unclothed dinner table with a week's house arrest does not make sense to children. However, if the evening's favorite show has to be canceled because the child has not yet cleared the table until the movie begins, the causal relationship is understandable to the child.
Take personal responsibility
By taking on specific tasks or being responsible for a pet, children gradually learn to take responsibility for themselves and stand up for their mistakes. All the more so if the parents intervene affectionately and supportive, if the child does not master a task or a responsibility does not seem at times grown.
As soon as children reach puberty, they can be given a degree of personal responsibility. So they can make sure that they get up in time and arrive punctually at school with a packed satchel. Furthermore, they can independently do their homework and prepare for exams. At this age, many parents go about providing their child with a monthly allowance that they can use to buy their own clothes, etc. A child who has been able to develop a sense of responsibility from an early age will be more or less able to accomplish these tasks ,
If all else fails, then the parents have usually done one wrong: they have taken on the responsibility for their child until teenage years and taken him all tasks. You have not taught him how to act responsibly and what the consequences are if you do not. What would have been a playful and effortless process in infancy culminates in many disappointments on the part of parents and increasing frustration in the child. For this reason, parents should better start early to educate their children to take responsibility for themselves and others.
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