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Raising Responsible Kids - How To Get Your Children To Do Their Chores

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Are you raising responsible kids?

Do you come home to kids watching TV, playing video games, or chatting on cell phones? Are the morning and afternoon dishes stacked in the sink for you to do? Do you want help with laundry, vacuuming, and fixing dinner? Let's find out how to raise responsible kids and get the help you need.

To raise responsible kids, be kind and firm:

What you say to your kids and how you say it must reflect your inner conviction that you are the parent. With that inner conviction your words will be more effective. You won't be complaining, yelling, or feeling mean when telling your kids to do their chores. Your kids will sense you are in charge.

3 steps to experiencing your authority as the parent:

  • Ask yourself, "How would I feel inside if I calmly and strongly felt my authority?"
  • Take quiet time to imagine and feel that authority.
  • Practice experiencing that feeling before confronting your kids.

When it's time to tell your kids to do their chores, take that inner conviction with you. Make sure it's strong, serious, and calm.

To raise responsible kids, avoid this mistake:

A young boy named Tom, whose father was a preacher, asked his dad on the way home from church, "Dad, were you telling the truth today or were you just preaching?" (A true story from Kidwarmers)

When parents lecture, kids don't listen. Preaching wastes your time, alienates your kids, and increases your tone of helplessness. Instead use few words and speak with a firm voice.

Raise responsible kids with rules and expectations:

Parents make a big mistake when they fail to draw the line. My friend Roberta, who raised 5 children, talks about eliminating "the control that a child likes to have in raising a parent." When kids leave dirty dishes, keep messy rooms, and play on the computer without helping, they're raising their parents to be their servants. Roberta believes that responsible parents draw the line. That means they follow through with rules and expectations.

To raise responsible kids, use this formula:

  • Develop a calm inner conviction that you have both the authority and the responsibility to be the parent.
  • Avoid lecturing.
  • Use few words.
  • Speak with a firm voice.
  • Follow through with your rules and expectations.

Practice using the above formula consistently. You'll be teaching your kids to be responsible. You'll be getting the help you need, and you'll be building character too.

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