Readathon: Raising a Responsible Child
Posted by Yes This I Know
I am still working on this one, which I began almost a year ago. It was touted as the “book to recommend to parents if you could only ever choose one,” by one of the main professors of my counseling program. The core of the book is utilizing natural and logical consequences of your child’s choices, and avoiding the tendency to circumvent, remove, exaggerate, delay, or change the consequences that the child would naturally receive, or which you indicated he/she would receive. No empty threats, but also no disproportionately emotional tirades needed, because both of those approaches actually hamper the child’s progress toward grasping the law of consequences and internalizing it for independent decision making. In short, the best thing you can do as a parent to foster responsibility in the child is to purposefully model and guide them through the mechanics of making a decision and evaluating the result in light if the anticipated and actual consequences. This process helps not only in avoiding wrong decisions, but also in choosing better decisions over good decisions, and best over better. This is a life long undertaking. And much of the book is relevant to older children who are facing decisions with social, moral, and legal ramifications. Rowan’s natural consequences at this stage of development pretty much involve falling or endangering himself somehow, which is pretty straightforward to deal with. So I’m working through the book slowly, knowing I have some time before I need to talk with my children about their use of the car or their study habits.