Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Encouraging Words for Teens, Adolescents and Young Adults

Hello from beautiful Montana:

Wow! Just when our children were raised and became intelligent, thoughtful and kind adults, along came our grandchildren

Teens and Young Adults Need Encouragement and Acceptance

Teens and Young Adults Need Encouragement and Acceptance

who needed encouragement and guidance.  Today’s parents and teens face new challenges which make adolescence more troublesome than ever before.  But one thing will never change and that is that children, teenagers and indeed all human beings want to be accepted and encouraged.

Nagging is Natural, But Not Effective

When we nag teenagers, we annoy them by persistent fault-finding, criticisms, complaints and demands.  We usually fall back on nagging when our children neglect some duty that is routinely  expected of them, such as cleaning their rooms, doing homework, taking out the garbage, or picking up their stuff scattered all over the house.  It is not the teenager we are irritated with, but the behavior that infringes on our space and comfort.

However, young adults fail to carry out their responsibilities for any number of reasons. Their minds and bodies may be occupied with their own interests and forget how important this task is to you and the rest of the family.  Getting an adolescent to do what they should do or what needs to be done to make life run smoothly is not always easy.  But, our natural reaction of nagging is not only non productive but often makes the situation worse.

Mentor Teenagers Into Positive Behavior

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Chore Charts For Children In Elementary School

Developing responsibility in children is important in most families. As I work with parents, grandparents, teachers and other caring adults who work with kids who are in school, I hear the following questions about responsibility;

  • How do I get my child to do homework
  • How do I get my child to clean his room
  • How do I get my child to do his chores
  • How do I get my child to feed the pet
  • How do I get my child to practice the piano
  • How do I get my child to speak to the family with respect

The problem is that responsible and acceptable behavior is different for every person and every child.  When children are in school there are lots of new and exciting adventures that take their thoughts and energy away from the task at hand.

Difference between obedience and responsibility

One of the hardest lessons I ever had to learn is that you can’t make anyone do anything long term. You can force your child to do their homework tonight by yelling, screaming and threatening, but I promise you he will dislike school and you.

The difference between obedience and responsibility often comes down to this simple distinction, Who owns the problem. If you realize that the dog is hungry and you fix it by filling the food dish, but punish or yell at the child, you still own the problem.  You will be telling the child to feed the pet every day and he will expect you to tell him  and then lecture or else feed the dog.

Obedience needs no agreement or buy-in from the child. The motivation comes from an outside force, in this case, you making the child feel guilty.

Responsibility, however, involves the acceptance and understanding of the natural (the dog has no way to feed himself) and logical (the child feeds the dog before he eats breakfast and dinner) consequences.

Chore Charts Tell Child What Is Expected

When the parent is in the telling position and the child is in the doing position, which means the child won’t do if the parent doesn’t tell.  The chore chart is a wonderful tool for pulling adults away from always telling the child what to do and when to do it.  Chore charts shift the responsibility to the child and makes the chart the regulator and judge, not the adult.

Chore Charts or job lists or behavior calendars get the emotion out of the situation and strengthens both independence and responsibility.  The best advantage of a chore chart that has been agreed on at a family council is the “buy-in” from all parties.  Everyone knows what is expected to be done and the time frame for accomplishing said task and have decided and agreed on the consequences if it is not done.

Schools are not the teachers of responsibility. Their job is to enhance what has already been learned and modeled in the home and care giving situations. Those of us who love the child need to find methods and techniques to help the child to assume personal responsibility for their decisions and actions.  We increase the odds of teaching the child to work independently by being consistent and realistic in our expectations.

Be sure to check out http://www.responsiblechildren.com for a free report on “30 Ways To Get Your Kids To Help At Home.”  You will be glad you did.

With gratitude for the important work you do with children,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

PS:  Do you know an organization that is looking for a dynamic keynote speaker on responsibility?

I give a very generous finder’s fee.

Responsible Children Make Responsible Adults

Parents want responsible children. The world needs responsible adults who will teach children in their circle of influence to assume personal responsibility.

Parents who allow children to experience the natural and/or logical consequences of their actions prepare them to be responsible, reflective, responsive, respectful and resilient adults. It is important to the future adults that we assist them to become self sufficient thinkers and problem solvers who don’t have to ask or be told what to do in every situation.

World of Work Needs Responsible Workers

As business owners, we found many of those who had fine educations and  technical skills did not know how to assume personal responsibility for their choices and decisions. It was as if we, the business owners and managers, were expected to re-parent people and teach them skills best learned as children.

Those young people who have those life skills of responsible attitudes and a work ethic, literally stand head and shoulders above other applicants.  They are the first to be promoted and the last to be let go in economic downturns.

Competent Kids Make Confident Adults

What does it take for parents to teach responsibility?  Every parent has a different answer and a different expectation of when and how their child will assume personal responsibility.  One thing is for sure ant that is responsibility must be taught.  It is not a natural skill and most of us would love to have others wait on and provide for us, but learn the joy of being in charge of our own lives.

Responsibility can be taught at any age, but is best when consistency and follow through is used in daily teaching moments.  You cannot expect a 35 year old job from a 10 year old. Nor can you expect a 10 year old to assume responsibility for a task unless he/she knows that the ownership of the decision or problem belongs to them. Parents may have to occasionally jump in and help them do an unpleasant task or problem solve, but not do it for them.

Encourage Children to Make Responsible Choices

The more the child has the opportunity of “owning” the decision or task, the more he/she will learn and the more their confidence will grow. The purpose of allowing natural consequences to occur and designing logical consequences is to encourage children to make responsible choices.

This is teaching, training and guidance not a method of punishment.  Parents should look down the road and envision their child in the world of work and help them learn problem solving skills.

You do not become responsible when you mature, you mature as you become more responsible.

For more information on teaching your children responsibility, please go to: http://www.kidschoresandmore.com

You will be glad you did!

In gratitude,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker