How to teach responsibility to 3-8-year-olds

Children cannot be asked to do things that are beyond their evolutionary reach, depending on their age, a series of things or others must be required of them in order to teach responsibility. But beware, when we say ‘demand’, we are not referring to the fact that children must blindly obey everything that adults ask of them. Not much less. Responsibility must come from the heart of children, and therefore, it is something that must begin to work from when they are very young.

Children at this age are very competent in handling various responsibilities. Little by little, they are developing a sense of integrity to carry out domestic and community tasks. It is important to remember that children often do not have much internal motivation to be responsible, so they will likely need occasional reminders to get into the habit. In this stage of 3 to 8 years, it is important not to overload children with a lot of tasks, and it is better to perform a smaller number of tasks and thus make sure that they are done and that they feel satisfied for a job well done.

Teach those first things first

If your child wants to play before doing homework or homework, then you need to reinforce this basic rule. You should remind them that before playing or doing any leisure activity, they should finish their homework, finish eating or finish doing a household chore. To say this to your child, you should be kind and tell him that although it is normal for him to want to have fun first, first things come first and then that reward he is waiting for will come.

Do homework a game

Children enjoy playing more, and when they feel that what they have to do is an obligation, they become demotivated too quickly. We all like homework best when it’s fun, so make homework more fun. If, for example, you have to clean your bedroom, you can have a competition to see who finishes first, put on music to do it dancing, etc.

Without scolding much better

It’s hard to stay calm when your child repeatedly fails at what you hope he or she will do well. But scolding him too much or punishing him rarely works – at least in the long run – and besides, they won’t teach him self-discipline. Instead, it is better to put a touch of humour in things.

Instead of scolding your child because something did not go well, help him improve it with a smile. Or if, for example, if your child accidentally dropped a bowl of cereal on the ground, what’s the use of getting angry? Teach him to clean it, to look for possible solutions and also to be able to accept his responsibilities.

Change the signs

One of the most frustrating aspects of parenting is having to repeat the same thing over and over again. It is necessary to change this way of acting and tell the children what to do. For example, if you are tired of telling him to hang the jacket on the hanger and he ignores it, when he comes from the street tell him to go outside again and when he comes in, hang the jacket on the hanger. When he does, praise him and repeat this action until he has the habit. It is not as important to say things a thousand times as to teach them the habit.

How to teach a child not to resign when they treat him badly?

Learned helplessness is one of the worst psychological states a person can fall into. It refers to the belief that, whatever we do, we cannot change the situation. Therefore, even though we are suffering, we will simply resign ourselves to such mistreatment because we believe that we cannot do anything to end it.

This state blocks in advance any possibility of change or liberation because we think that there is no possible solution. In this way, we suffer in silence and do not even ask for help. In fact, it is a common situation in cases of gender violence, when women not only do nothing to escape the abuser but even justify it and believe that they are to blame.

However, learned helplessness is a state that is acquired from an early age. When parents do not meet the basic needs of their baby or take a long time to respond, an imprint is created in the infant’s brain that will influence the way they perceive themselves and relate to the world.

Arbitrary punishments also lay the foundations for learned helplessness since the child will only understand one message: whatever I do, they will punish me. When rewards and punishments do not depend on the child’s behaviour but on the parents’ state of mind, the little one will not know how to behave or what is expected of him.

These children will be more prone to being bullied and abused in silence, as they believe that nothing they do can change that situation. They normally have low self-esteem and have destroyed their ability to react, overriding their will.

Be consistent

Children need to know that they can trust their parents, that they represent a source of security. To achieve this, it is important that both parents agree with the rewards and punishments that apply at home, which should depend on the behaviour of the child and not on their mood. This also means that the punishment must be appropriate to the offence committed. In this way, the child will grow up feeling that the world is a safe place.

Let them be wrong

Preventing children from making their own mistakes and fixing them is a big mistake. Children need to experience the full range of emotions classified as “negative” in order to develop their own coping resources. If you try to protect them, you deprive them of the ability to persevere and feel competent when they finally get it right. That sense of competence and self-sufficiency empowers them and teaches them that they are the architects of their life. Therefore, they will be less likely to be intimidated or suffer in silence.

Teach them that they deserve and owe respect

Children should grow up in an environment of respect, which not only means that parents should respect each other but also show respect for the child’s decisions and opinions, even if they seem childish. In this way, the little one will develop healthy self-esteem and will immediately detect when others try to violate their rights as a person. Obviously, it is also important that you teach him to respect the rights, opinions and decisions of others.

Enhance conflict resolution skills

An overly paternalistic upbringing, in which parents overprotect their children and solve their problems for them, will only block their abilities. Therefore, it is important for children to know that they can count on their parents and tell them about their problems, but it is also essential to encourage them to seek and apply solutions on their own, especially when it comes to interpersonal conflicts, whether with siblings, cousins or classmates.