To grow up into responsible adults, children need to be taught to take ownership of their actions. The issue might be something simple like avoiding the blame game during a fight with friends or siblings, or something important like being accountable for academics. It is almost as difficult for parents to let go of their child, as it is for a child to accept ownership. Your teen will probably appreciate it more, since taking ownership also implies a larger degree of freedom. By offering him plenty of opportunity to take on new responsibilities and at the same time allowing a little margin of acceptable failure, parents can teach their child to take ownership of his actions.
The ability to complete a task ‘on his own’ enhances a child’s self-esteem and strengthens his sense of responsibility. When he is made responsible for a family task and completes it successfully, bonds are strengthened because he learns to value his position as a contributing member of the family. He learns to work independently and becomes a better organizer too.
Preteens and teens can be handed over simple tasks like helping with household chores, babysitting, setting their timetable, being responsible for their studies and for maintaining their schedules.
Most children need to be taught to take ownership. While they are eager for freedom, the point that it comes with certain responsibilities, needs to be brought home to them.
Here’s what Parents can do
Entrust him with responsibility:
It is crucial that parents learn to let go. They need to provide a child with age-appropriate opportunity to take on new roles and complete new tasks on his own. They have to believe in their child’s capacity to take ownership, before the child starts believing in himself.
Give clear instructions and explain fallouts of failure:
Start with uncomplicated tasks. Remember, your child is new to this. Give him simple and clear instructions. Also, explain what will happen if he fails to complete the task.
Allow him to learn from experience:
If a task isn’t essential and the situation is not life-threatening, parents should allow the child to learn from experience. Failure is a great teacher. Let him fail at a school test or not go down to play, if he doesn’t finish his chores on time. It will teach him to try harder to finish the task next time.
Offer assistance, but don’t do the task for him:
Once he starts on a task, be there to offer advice and assistance, for at least the first few times. However, do not do the task for him. If parents are always doing things for a child or prodding him to get things done, he will neither learn to do it himself nor take responsibility for things left undone.
Be a role model:
When your child watches you taking responsibility for your actions, voluntarily shouldering blame when you fail and completing tasks you promise, he will learn to do the same.
Point out real life examples:
Bring it to your child’s notice when you see examples of people around you taking ownership. It could be a child in his friend circle, a sibling or an adult in the family.
Praise success, but also point out failure:
Praise works wonders for preteens and teens, in strengthening their belief in themselves and in encouraging them to seek out new roles. However, do not forget to point out failures too. Accepting failure and analysing why it happened is a huge step in teaching them the importance of taking ownership.
Parents need to act as valuable facilitators and guides to ensure that their child grows up into a responsible adult, and learns to take ownership by himself, and not because someone prods him to do so