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5 Things NOT To Do If You Want to Raise a Responsible Child

Posted Feb 13 2013 7:00am

There is much written these days about raising a child to become personally responsible for what happens in their lives. After all, that is the goal of every parent… isn’t it?

But in reality, there in lies the first thing NOT to do.

And that is to say those words and express that as your goal when in fact deep down you really love having your child dependent on you. You are more than willing to micro-manage their lives, do things for them and above all you are all too happy to rush in and save them from anything that could possibly be construed as negative.

So the first order of business is to be completely truthful and honest with yourself. This is not to point fingers of blame or create feelings of guilt. The fact of the matter is that most parents, especially moms, secretly never want their children to grow up and leave them!

How do I know this? Aside from the many parents I talk to on a regular basis, I am one of those parents myself! Believe me it takes constant awareness and effort to not rush in to protect and save the day!

However, when we verbally express to our child that our choices and actions are based on our intention to raise them to be responsible independent individuals and subconsciously harbor feelings to the contrary, that we want them to always need us and never leave, we are sending them a mixed message. And that message can easily become the catalyst for many of the conflicts and challenges we face with our child.

Imagine for a moment that your boss assigns you a specific task and each time you attempt to do it he rushes in, takes over, completes the task and then walks away frustrated with you!

How would you feel?

The first thing for me would be to feel that he doesn’t have faith in me that I could do it. The second would be that I would never learn because he never gives me a chance to actually experience the process of doing whatever it is he is asking me to do. In time, I would give up and feel less than enthusiastic and certainly lose my motivation the next time I was asked to do something. The same applies to our children.

Things NOT to do if you want your child to be personally responsible…

1. Do not send mixed messages to your child.

2. Do not make choices for them.

3. Do not interfere with their attempts at trying new things.

4. Do not discourage their interest in things that YOU fear they can’t accomplish.

5. Do not impose YOUR feelings based on YOUR experiences on to your child.

We all love our children more than life itself. We devote the majority of our time to nurturing, guiding and caring for them. We are totally committed to protecting them physically and emotionally. However, what all parents must understand, accept and take action on is the fact that our job is to teach them to be able to stand alone, confident and independent, fully aware of their capabilities, relying on their own internal guidance system.

This quote says it best…

“A mother isn’t a person to lean on but
a person to make leaning unnecessary.”

                        ~Dorothy Fisher 

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