Who is responsible for what?

Who is responsible for your child's maturity and readiness for the world -- You or your child? This important question deeply affects a parent's attitude towards a child. Answers to it fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. Some see the child's successes of failures inlife as primarily the parent's responsibility. These parents diligently do whatever they can to help they child grow, and they feel that the child's adult years reflect on how they parented. Others see the child as taking the weight. "I did my best, and he had a choice," they say when problem arise.
We believe in the following three principles about responsibility:
  1. Responsibility lies on a continuum between child and parent, and where it lies on the continuum changes over time. The child's only responsibility at the beginning of life is to need and to take in the sources of life; parents have total responsibility for the child. As the child begisn to assert himself, learn tasks, and become more self-sufficient, he takes more ownership of his life and the parent take less. Around the beginning of the teen years, the parent actively begins "de-parenting", that is exchanging a controlling role in the child's life for an influencial one. By the time he reaches the late teens, the child should be taking over total responsibility for his behavior, finances, morality, and relationships

  2. Eventhough responsibilityshifts, both parents and children still have their own unique and distinct tasks. Parents provide safety and love, and they also structure experiences to help the child mature. The child responds to these experiences, takes risks, fails, and learns lessons. Parent;s and children can't do each other's job; they must do their own. Parents who ask their child if it's okay to be a parent are in trouble. The question, "Is it alright with you if I set a curfew?" does not show parental authority. And the child who tries to take responsibility for her parent's feelings also has a problem.

  3. The child must bear the ultimate responsibility for his life. No parent is perfect, and all children suffer some injuries along with the benefits they recieve from their parents. early childhood experiences are life-changing. In major ways they determine the kind of adults children grow up to be. Yet, in the end, a child will be evaluated not as much on his circumstances and environment, but on how he responded to what life handed out: Did he love? Did he practices stewardship? Did he gorw, change and forgive?

The bible says that at the end of life, we will be called to account for the good and bad we did in life (2 Corinthians 5:10). While your child is coming to terms today with what his tasks are and are not, he always needs to be moving forward full responsibility for his life and soul.

an excerp from the book: Raising Great Kids: A Comprehensive Guide to Parenting with Grace


0 Kind Word(s):