Raising Responsible Kids


We all want our kids to act responsibly. Dr. Scott Turansky, co-founder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting, provides the following discipleship tip you can use to teach children responsibility.

Teaching responsibility is time consuming because it requires practice. It’s sometimes just easier for tired, busy teachers and parents to do things themselves. While this may get a job done faster, it doesn’t teach responsibility. What kids often learn is that, if they resist long enough, they won’t have to do it.

Children can learn to take initiative, but it takes some practice and different cues. By transferring responsibility to kids and then holding them accountable, you’re able to build internal motivation instead of being the motivator.

Kids learn responsibility by developing internal motivation systems. Your job is to require them to develop the systems and then hold them accountable to use them.

An effective way to teach responsibility is to require children to report back when the task is complete. In fact, you might find yourself saying regularly, “The job isn’t done until it’s checked.” You then can inspect the work, requiring an interruption to your schedule. But if you consistently inspect, then you’ll be able to set a standard for the work.

Jesus illustrated responsibility by using the word “faithful” to describe stewards who were left in charge of talents while the landowner was away. When he returned, he had each steward report back, and then to those who did well he said in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” You might point out in that Bible story that it’s the stewards who were faithful that received more privileges. Much like it is in your classroom and home each day.


Discipleship Begins With Our Children

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