COACH YOUR CHILD TO HELP WITHOUT EXPECTING SOMETHING IN RETURN
When your child was younger, he did what you asked for one of two reasons: He wanted to please you (or avoid displeasing you) or he wanted to get something for it. That is the moral reasoning of a young child.
But now your child is reaching a new stage of moral reasoning. He should be working on “doing the right thing” because it is beneficial to more people than just himself.
Here are ways to encourage this:
• Remind him that others count on him. “I know it’s hard to make it to soccer practice on time every day. But your teammates really need you. I appreciate your effort and I know how much your coach appreciates your dedication.”
• Phrase your requests in terms of helping the family. Example: “Can you help the family by taking out the trash?”
• Remind him to consider the feelings of others, “I wonder what your teacher would think if you wrote her a not thanking her for a great year.”
Source: Thomas Lickona, Raising Good Children, ISBN: 0-553-37429-X (Bantam, a division of Random House, 1-800-733-3000, www.randomhouse.com/bantamdell/index.html). Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2009 The Parent Institute
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN HONEST MISTAKE AND NEGLECT
Learning responsibility takes time. So don’t expect your preteen to grasp it overnight. But do expect him to take his responsibilities seriously. And also expect him to understand the difference between an honest mistake and neglect.
• An honest mistake would be adding too much detergent to the laundry. The result might be a sudsy puddle on the floor.
• Neglect would be your preteen failing to put his dirty clothes in the hamper. The result may b frantic search for clean clothes before the school bus arrives.
Should you punish your preteen if he makes an honest mistake? Probably not. Everyone slips up sometimes. Instead you should:
• Share a laugh over his soapy (or other) misstep.
• Help him clean up the mess (especially if there really are suds everywhere).
• Show him how to do the job correctly next time.
But is your preteen neglects his responsibilities, don’t ignore the situation. Instead you should:
• Talk to him about where he fell short and why.
• Remind him that he’s an important member of the family. His contributions matter.
• Enforce a consequence. Make sure the consequence is related to the responsibility
Source: Kate Thomsen, M.S., C.A.S., Parenting Preteens with a Purpose, ISBN: 1-57482-199-7 (Search Institute Press, 1-800-888-7828, www.search-institute.org). Reprinted with permission from Copyright © 2008 The Parent Institute