Joey and Carla Link
November 6, 2019
In the last 24 hours how many times have you heard your spouse remind one of your kids to do something they already know to do? How many times have you done so? It’s common and normal, but it is a bad habit that is not real helpful in assisting kids togrow in maturity.
Recently I (Joey) had a parent ask us “How can I get my child to be more responsible at getting their chores done? It’s a typical question parents struggle with. I asked this parent how many times she reminded them to do them. She sheepishly admitted she reminded her kids to do them all the time. I asked what motivated their kids to own their chores – just their reminders? When working with another family, Carla asked the mom how many reminders did she have to give until their kids got around to doing their chores? Her response was there wasn’t a set number of times. Carla told her there definitely was. She had been counting all day and with all three of their kids Mom and Dad gave 4 reminders before the kids moved. Why did it take four times? They knew that was when their parents’ tone of voice told them they better get them done now or they would pay the price.
Why would a child want to remember to do something they don’t want to do when their parent will remember for them? Every child wants to do his/her own thing and no child wants to be responsible until they have to be. It is the parents’ role to help their child mature and own their behaviors and responsibilities, and it will be work for both the parent and the child for this to happen.
Parents need to stop reminding and
children need to learn to think and
follow through with responsibilities on their own.
How to get kids to work on responsibilities
- Have your kids list all the responsibilities they have.
- Ask them to rate between 1-10 (1 is low 10 is high) how well they do them without being reminded.
- Ask them to write down why they think they have to be reminded.
- Ask them to write down one way they can work on the 2 items on their list that take the most reminders for them to get their chores done. If they can’t come up with anything, let them know you will come up with one.
- As parents, be willing to come up with consequences that will help them remember. Be sure and praise them when you see them working on them.
Something to look out for:
When kids start to demonstrate responsibility, they will often expect to have more freedoms. This can catch parents off guard, but it’s a good sign of their growing maturity. They not only take their plate to the sink for example, they will do the dishes without being asked as well.
When a child is taking ownership of more and more of his/her responsibilities, he develops maturity in other areas that a parent may not be fully ready to trust or turn over to him. It is also a good time to give him the freedom to fail. In other words, ask him if you can trust him with that ownership and if he says “yes”, give it to him. Don’t be afraid to take it back if he misuses that freedom.
The best part of all is when as a parent, you start to realize how mature and responsible your child actually can be and this may give you sufficient motivation to bump up your next child to taking ownership of his/her responsibilities!