Being a parent in today’s world is not easy. Children have so many obstacles that as a parent, you need to be smart, which effectively means that your approach to parenting and your child needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely to the situations you face. Smart parenting helps parents raise responsible and accountable children and they grow up to be responsible citizens. A responsible citizen is one who is committed, dedicated, and respectful and helps others in the community for the upliftment of all sections of the society. It is up to parents to teach smart parenting techniques that enable their children to be responsible. (Also read: Tips for parents and teachers to teach children to protect themselves from bullying )
Tips for teaching your child to be a responsible citizen
Dr. Paula Goyal, Pediatrician and Adolescent Specialist, shares with HT Lifestyle, a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the journey of parenthood and raising a child who is responsible, independent and contributing to society.
1. Set up a routine and structure: Encouraging your child to follow rules and routines helps them understand boundaries and recognize acceptable behavior. By managing their own tasks and following a schedule for eating, sleeping, and academic work, they will develop effective study habits.
2. Accepting responsibility: Teach your children to be responsible for their own actions and not to blame others. Accepting responsibility is a very important part of growing up and needs to be reinforced frequently as a family. Accountability allows children and teens to be more forgiving and less angry. This sets the foundation for a healthy future relationship.
3. Communication is key: Effective communication plays an important role in building happy relationships, be it with your partner, family, friends, or even your children. Remember that children are very smart and they are able to sense your moods and emotions. If you don’t keep your communication channels open, you’ll find that your child won’t open up to you either. That’s why it’s important to keep conversations going both ways from childhood. Communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal, so be aware of your body language when communicating with your child.
4. Let your children clean up their own mess: Children can be really messy at times and there will be objects and toys, books, and clothes scattered around the house. It’s important to remember that you should let your child clean up after themselves. Sometimes you can help them, but doing this regularly is something that is not desirable because your child expects you to do everything. Many parents don’t understand this and feel guilty if they expect their child to clean their room. Trust me, your child will become more responsible and eventually take responsibility for cleaning his room and your work will be less.
5. Encourage your children to participate in household chores: Some parents may feel guilty and ashamed when asking their children to contribute to housework. However, it is important to explain to children the concept of family and how helping each other is part of it. Doing things instills positive qualities like discipline, respect, empathy and compassion. The focus is not just on getting the job done, but on raising a child who is responsible and proud to contribute to the family. Make work fun and provide the support and guidance needed to create a positive experience.
6. Allow your child to solve his problems: Mothers always advise not to get into trouble with their children and this advice is true. When parents interfere in their children’s problems, they can create conflicts with other parents and adults. They may also be seen as prejudiced and judgmental towards other children. It’s best to listen to your child’s perspective on what happened and offer an unbiased opinion. Encourage your child to face problems, apologize if necessary, and get along with their peers. It helps them learn accountability, responsibility and independence. Avoid being judgmental and help them become more resilient to life’s challenges.
7. Never label or judge your child: This is very important. Labeling or judging your child or comparing them to other children destroys their self-esteem, self-worth and confidence. They are no longer motivated to achieve and move forward. Learning to appreciate your child for the simple things in life, may not be some great reward. Learn to celebrate and enjoy your time together. Always try to be appreciative.
8. Providing unconditional love and support: As parents, we should all provide our children with unconditional love and support instead of setting unrealistic expectations and resorting to bribery with gifts. Using gifts to achieve goals teaches children to equate material rewards with success, which can lead to frustration and pain if they are not possible to provide. Instead, we should be present in our children’s lives, offering guidance and support when needed, without forcing them into activities or careers they dislike. The presence and support of parents are invaluable and cannot be replaced by material gifts.
9. Involve your children in community service and activities: Engaging in community service and helping others can greatly enhance positive psychology. Studies indicate that community involvement and philanthropic behavior stimulate the release of endorphins or “happy hormones” that provide a sense of happiness and satisfaction not only to those who receive help but also to those who give it. It instills a sense of responsibility and obligation, providing individuals with a sense of direction and meaning in their lives.