Are parents bringing up their children to be responsible or obedient? In other words, which one will you want your child to be – an obedient child or a responsible child? I know most parents will go for a responsible child. Now what we need to know is whether we are bringing up obedient or responsible children. Is there a difference between obedience and responsibility?
Before we get a solution to this, we must first of all know the difference between obedience and responsibility. I will not go into defining each in this article as I am sure you might want to check that yourself.
When a child does what he or she has been told to do, we say the child is obedient. This means the child has no role in the decision, but to do as they have been told. We don’t need any agreement when it comes to obedience.
On the other hand, responsibility is when a child accepts something and is motivated to complete the task. There is a sense of personal will power when it comes to responsibility. Meanwhile on the part of obedience, there is no room for negotiation or asking questions.
Some of us usually brag that we have obedient children. Obedience is good though, but, without a sense of responsibility, it may not work out well for your child as he or she grows older. Most of the time, obedient children do things out of the fear of unpleasant consequences. They know the feeling if they don’t comply, as things might turn out bad for them.
As for responsibility, the child has a sense of power, knowledge and specifics about the task to be carried, including the motivation on their part to carry out the required role. In this situation, you have to make sure the child understands the task really well and, knows what has to be done or how it should be done. When a child doesn’t carry out a task, it is so easy for us to accuse them of being disobedient, incompetent and lazy. We forget to know that it may actually not be their fault that they could not complete the task.
There are certain traditions or practices we obey, but don’t adhere to. In this comes another disparity between obedience and responsibility. The child needs to accept the task which makes a great difference. This means there has been a shift from obedience to responsibility.
Some of us parents will not tolerate a child saying “No” when asked to do something. They need instant obedience without giving the child a say. Take for instance a parent who wants a child to take on some responsibilities and say “Would you please tidy the table after eating your dinner?” This means the child has the right to say “yes” or “no”.
What about saying “Make sure you tidy the table after eating your dinner”. This is an order which has to be obeyed. Here, the parent is not expecting any “No” from the child.
In my opinion, we have to allow children to say “No” sometimes. As parents, we need to listen to our children and hear them out. We have to understand their reason for saying “no” to some of the things we ask them to do. A child might be in pains while carrying out a specific task or may not even know how to go about it. If we don’t listen, they will keep saying “no” or doing the wrong things all the time.
When a child says “No” this means you can open up a conversation with him/her. It is necessary for you to share your perspective on why saying “no” may not be good. Something like “I can tell you don’t like cleaning tables. I was thinking that as a member of the family, you can take responsibilities for certain things in the house. That’s why I’ve asked you to clean the table.”
It doesn’t end there. If the child does the task, it is time to say “thank you for taking on this responsibility in cleaning the table. This makes it easy for us as a team”. With such a comment, the child gets to belief that he or she is learning to be responsible. Checkout these 20 Encouraging Words to Say to Your Child.
In my opinion, parents should learn to promote responsibilities in their children rather than obedience. We should also be able to know the difference between obedience and responsibility. This is because there are times when we need a child to be obedient and not responsible. It is not easy to teach responsibility to kids as compared to obedience, even though responsibility is what we, as parents, have to take responsibly.
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