Helping Your Child Learn Responsible Behavior
Our children deserve to learn important lessons from us and
to acquire important habits with our help. They need help
in learning what matters to us. We want our children to grow
to be responsible adults. We want them to learn to feel, think,
and act with respect for themselves and for other people.
We want them to pursue their own well-being, while also being
considerate of the needs and feelings of others.
Today, there is wide recognition that many of our children
are not learning to act responsibly while they are young.
Studies show that many children see nothing wrong with cheating
on tests. Some see nothing wrong with taking things that don't
If proper attitudes and behavior are not learned early,
problems can mushroom with even worse consequences when children
are older. As crime has increased, teen-age offenders
have shown less and less feeling for their victims. But even
for the youngsters who will never commit a crime, it is better
to learn responsibility when they are young, rather than when
they are older and they have to change bad habits.
This booklet focuses on practical suggestions for helping
young children appreciate the importance of acting responsibly
in their everyday lives. Further, it provides ideas on how
help them make responsible choices, and stick with them, even
when doing so is hard and the material rewards are few.
Many parents will also want to share with their children
deeply held religious and moral convictions as a foundation
for ethical behavior. This booklet discusses habits of fairness,
respect, courage, honesty, and compassion that responsible
people share, and it can be used by parents with different
As parents, we can give our children the best in us by helping
them acquire habits and character traits that they can rely
on in their own lives. If we help them lean to take
pleasure in thinking and behaving well, they will have the
best chance to lead good lives as individuals and as citizens
in the community. This will be true no matter what unpleasant
situations or bad influences they come across.
What Do We Mean by Responsibility?
None of us is born acting responsibly. A responsible character
is formed over time. It is made up of our outlook and daily
habits associated with feelings, thoughts, and actions.
Responsible people act the way they should whether or not
anyone is watching. They do so because they understand that
it's fight and because they have the courage and self-control
to act decently, even when tempted to do otherwise.
We want our children to appreciate the importance of being
responsible. We also want them to develop the habits and strength
to act this way in their everyday lives. Learning to be responsible
includes learning to
* respect and show compassion for others;
* practice honesty as a matter of course;
* show courage in standing up for our principles;
* develop self-control in acting on our principles;
* maintain self-respect.