There is an inexpressible joy that can only be experienced when parents take full responsibility in nurturing their kids. No one can take your place and position as a parent, especially when you have that natural bonding or connection with your children. Parents tend to know their kids better when they are involved in their nurturing and therefore should be in the position to handle their kids better. As a responsible parent, part of your job is to model the types of behaviors and values you would like to see in your children, including patience, respect, and a good work ethic. That said, if you are like most parents, you have picked up a few bad habits throughout your life. If you want you child to avoid these habits and mistakes, take the time to look at your own behavior and make positive changes. If you slip up and curse, for example, apologize to your children and show that you know you made a mistake and are striving to change for the better. Recognizing your shortcomings can also be a good way to help children learn the value of self-awareness and taking responsibility for your own choices and behaviors. In my last post, I wrote about carelessness in parenting. I hope it has been helpful.
What responsible parenting entails
1). Provide an environment that is SAFE for their growth. This involves;
- Keeping your child free from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
- Keeping unsafe objects locked up or out of reach of your child especially infants and toddlers.
- Getting to know your child’s caregivers (get background checks).
- Correcting any potential dangers around the house.
- Taking Safety Precautions: lock doors at night,don’t leave them locked inside the house for hours, always wear seatbelts for them when driving, etc.
2). Ability to meet BASIC NEEDS of the family.
It is the duty of a father to provide the basic needs of his family such as accommodation, feeding etc. These needs include ;
- Plenty of nutritious foods
- A warm bed with sheets, blankets, and a pillow
- Medical care as needed/Medicine when ill.
- Clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions
- Space (a place where he or she can go to be alone)
3). They emphasize more on moral values and less on materialistic things.
It is the priority of the mother to train the children on basic household chores and help the children to be responsible. Also, teach your child MORALS and VALUES which includes honesty, respect, responsibility, compassion, patience, forgiveness, generosity. Time and again it has been proved that in the end, moral values stand taller than materialistic possessions. Responsible parents place more significance on values like honesty, kindness, compassion and integrity and less on materialistic aspects like grades, competition, expensive things and grooming. They understand that a sound character goes a longer way than a better grade.
4). Provide your child with SELF-ESTEEM NEEDS.
Responsible parents understand that each child is unique and does not try to take one-size-fits all approach to parenting. This is particularly important if a child has physical and emotional limitations.
A. Accept your child’s uniqueness and respect his or her individuality.
B. Encourage (don’t push) your child to participate in a club, activity, or sport.
C. Notice and acknowledge your child’s achievements and pro-social behavior.
D. Encourage proper hygiene (to look good is to feel good, or so they say!).
E. Set expectations for your child that are realistic and age-appropriate.
F. Use your child’s misbehavior as a time to teach, not to criticize or ridicule.
5). Get to KNOW YOUR CHILD
- Spend quality time together: When it comes to spending time with kids, quality supersedes quantity. We all would prefer an hour of peaceful, undistracted, quality time with our loved ones over four hours full of distractions, divided attention and undue arguments. Spend quality time with kids helps in developing a deeper bond of love and understanding between the parents and their children
- Communicate: This encourages dialogues with the kids. Encouraging dialogues with the kids have twofold benefits; it makes them feel that they are important to have their opinions heard and it helps them in developing the art of self expression. Lot of issues can be solved with open communication and having a healthy, logical dialogue. Responsible parents listen actively to their kids and set it as the stepping stone to a relevant and useful discussion.
- Ask questions
- Be approachable to your child.
6). Involve yourself in your child’s EDUCATION.
A. Communicate regularly with your child’s teacher(s)
B. Make sure that your child is completing his or her homework each night.
C. Assist your child with his or her homework, but don’t do the homework.
D. Talk to your child each day about school (what is being studied, any interesting events,…etc.).
E. Recognize and acknowledge your child’s academic achievements. One of the biggest responsibilities of parents is to instill confidence in their children and this can be achieved by being more encouraging and motivating of the children’s strengths and good qualities. Constant criticism can rip the children off their self esteem and demoralizes them. It can take them into withdrawal mode and secretiveness, while regular appreciation helps in building strong, confident and positive children.
7). Develop MUTUAL RESPECT for your child.
A. Use respectful language
B. Respect his or her feelings
C. Respect his or her opinions
D. Respect his or her privacy
E. Respect his or her individuality
8). Provide DISCIPLINE which is effective and appropriate. Discipline that is too harsh may leave children feeling fearful, anxious or dependent. Overly harsh discipline may include severe corporal punishment, punishing one child for his sibling’s misbehaviors, yelling at a child over simple mistakes (for example, a small child spilling a drink), or cursing at a child. Disciple must be structured, consistent, predictable and fair. Discipline also involves establishing healthy boundaries which can differentiate a responsible parent from a careless parent. At its most basic level, a boundary is where one person ends and another person begins. Helping a child understand his or her role in the family and society is an important responsibility for parents. Because the roles that children learn in their youth can affect their interpersonal relationships well into adulthood, a responsible parent should be prepared to set boundaries for their children, enforce those boundaries and have discussions about their role in the family and in society as a whole. For example, while it is good to give children choices about what they wear, what they watch on TV, and how they schedule their free time, giving children too much say in how the household is run can be unhealthy. Remember, you are the parent and have ultimate control over how to run your household. This does not mean you need to discount your child’s opinion, but rather, mitigate choices with age-appropriate expectations and boundaries.
Note: Your child will not always like your choices (and might express this strongly), but your role is to help your child transition into a responsible, independent adult and this role is not always compatible with your child’s wishes. Although having an angry, pouting child may be frustrating or stressful, coping with these behaviors is yet another part of responsible parenting.
9). Adoption of family planning, sound knowledge of child bearing and rearing: Responsible parenthood requires the parents to consider their financial capability, and give birth to only the number of children they can cater for. You can’t afford to have children you can’t raise. It will wear you out and tell on the children. Planning saves from all that.
At times, meeting all of your child’s needs on your own will be difficult–if not impossible. Thus, a responsible parent recognizes the limitations of their knowledge and patience and reaches out to others, such as family, teachers, and even our father( God). Responsible parents recognize that they will never be able to have all the answers to their parenting dilemmas. Likewise, responsible parents will seek out assistance, even if it feels painful or embarrassing; but this is a normal parent of parenting and the human condition. Whether the parent needs help with discipline or the child’s behavior or academic performance, responsible parenting might involve asking for help. Similarly, if a family is struggling financially, a responsible parent will reach out to other parents be it friends or family. Even if their lives seem “perfect” from the outside, you will likely find that many of them are either in the same situation as you or have been in your place at sometime in the past.