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Being Responsible

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We all want our children to grow up to be responsible adults. We want them to feel, think, and act with respect for themselves and for others. To do this, children need lots of help from parents. Learning to be responsible includes learning to:

show respect and compassion for others,

practice honesty,

show courage by standing up for what we believe,

develop self-control out of consideration for others,

maintain self-respect.

Here are some things you can do at home:
Watch for the chance to teach your children responsible behavior through everyday situations. Share your moral and religious values with them.

Show compassion and concern when others are suffering.

Read stories together that teach lessons: the courage of David standing up to Goliath, or the value of persistence from "The Little Engine That Could."

Talk about complicated decisions. Help children understand how the choices they make will affect them and others.

Visit with teachers to discuss ways parents and the school can reinforce the same lessons about good character.

Talk with other parents and agree on acceptable behavior for children's play and parties. Take turns supervising to show that all the parents agree on the standards of behavior.

Responsibility Builders

Honesty, the Best Policy
for young children

Tell the story about the boy who cried "Wolf!" He did it so many times to get attention that when the wolf did come, no one believed him.

Ask your children if anyone had ever lied to them. How did that make them feel?

When you make a promise to your children, try to keep it. It may seem small to you, but it means a lot to them.

Helping Out
for older children

As children grow older, think of added ways they can help at home.

Discuss the new duties with them. Avoid making the duties seem like a punishment. Instead, you might say they require more ability which your child now has.

New tasks should stretch a child's abilities and make him or her feel satisfied with doing good work. Praise a job well done, especially a new challenge.

Getting to Know Others
for children of all ages

Set a good example. Act with respect toward others. Always make clear that prejudice is wrong and that all of us are equal, no matter what our color, gender, or background is.

Show an interest in learning about and from others--neighbors and relatives, and from books about our own and other civilizations.

Encourage your child to learn about many different lands and people, to learn another language, and to read stories about children from all over the world. Show your child how you try to see things from others point of view.

Listen carefully when your child wants to tell you things they have discovered about history, geography, religions, art, and ways of life.

Credits: Office of Educational Research and Improvement

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