How To Teach Your Kids About Taking Responsibility For Their Life & Actions

Photo: getty
mom and daughter cooking together

Taking responsibility should be a skill everyone learns growing up.

A few decades ago, the expression "helicopter parents" became part of our everyday language. When I was a primary school teacher, my colleagues and I used this expression to describe the parents who did everything — and I mean everything! — for their children.

These children didn't learn how to be responsible, because their parents were always hovering and smoothing their way for them.

RELATED: 5 Life Skills Every Twenty-Something Should Know

The helicopter parents made sure the children had their schoolwork, their lunch, and anything they needed to support after-school activities.

By chance, if something was left at home, one of their parents would rush back to school with the forgotten item. Consequently, children with helicopter parents didn't exercise their memory, nor did they learn how to be responsible for their belongings.

Young adults who grew up with helicopter parents who are now living on their own are having to learn how to be responsible for themselves.

If you're a young adult who grew up with overly-helpful parents, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the many ways in which you are learning how to be responsible.

It can be a steep learning curve as you must now create new habits to live successfully on your own.

Here are 3 life skills you should have learned about taking responsibility for yourself.

1. Managing your time.

It's up to you to figure out how to organize your morning routine. You decide what time you need to get up in the morning.

No one is reminding you of your schedule and hovering about, prompting you to hurry up and get ready.

You're responsible for managing your available time so that you do your household chores, your work, arrive at appointments early or on time, and have time to relax and unwind.

2. Organizing your space.

You get to decide how you want your home to look and feel.

Is it going to be clutter-free? Will you display artwork, your hobbies, or other collectibles? Where do you want to put your belongings, so the organization in your home is easy to maintain and works for you?

Your home is just that — yours. Make sure it reflects you and that it is the place you want to be.

3. Managing your money.

Learning how to be responsible for managing money is another important skill.

You start by creating a budget, factoring in your expenses, and recognizing the importance of saving for the future.

Learning how to be responsible with your money, your space, and your time reduces stress and puts you squarely in control.

How to teach your children about personal responsibility.

If you're a parent and want to teach your children how to be responsible for themselves and their belongings there is no time like the present.

RELATED: 6 Life Skills Your Child Needs Waaaaay More Than Learning 'Stranger Danger'

Here are 3 ways to get your children started with taking responsibility for their lives and actions.

1. Household chores.

Very young children can help pick up their toys and other belongings and put them away with guidance. Let them help with small chores around the house, like emptying wastebaskets. They can also help you sort the laundry and match up socks.

When you start teaching children to help around the house at a young age, they learn how to be responsible for their living space.

They also learn that when everyone living in the home helps with maintaining in the home — it's just part of life. Doing chores and helping around the house is not a punishment.

2. Managing their time.

As your children get older and enter school, give them an academic planner so they can learn how to be responsible for their course work and activities.

My colleague Leslie Josel from Order Out of Chaos has developed a fabulous award-winning academic planner. This planner is set up in such a way that allows the student to "see" their busy times and available times.

This system teaches students how to be responsible for planning the best use of their time to get their schoolwork done. It shows them when their other activities are scheduled and enables them to plan time with friends.

3. Managing money.

If your child receives money as a gift for birthdays and holidays, teach them how to save by putting a portion into a savings account for them.

Teach them how to be responsible with money by saving up for the special something they want. Create a special savings jar where they put the money they earn by doing extra jobs around the house for you.

Resist buying everything they want for them.

If you think you may be a helicopter parent, try relaxing your grip. Take yourself out of the role of a helicopter parent and teach your child how to be responsible with their belongings, their time, and their money.

Let them make some mistakes while they are still in your care. This will result in a confident young adult with the skills to live successfully on their own.

RELATED: The 4 Most Common Parenting Styles (And How To Make Sure You're Using The Best One)

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer, and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization. For more information, contact her or visit her website.

This article was originally published at DNQ Solutions. Reprinted with permission from the author.