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4 Ways to Raise Self-Reliant and Responsible Kids


What if I was to tell you that parents have the biggest hand in encouraging laziness and irresponsibility in their children? Studies show that our parenting style has a direct effect on how lazy, active or responsible our kids turn out to be.

The more parents urge indoor play, screen-time or even when they end up doing most of their children’s chores; they are encouraging children to be lazier and less responsible.

Things like putting away their toys, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, etc. are all things that young children are capable of doing themselves. Parents are actually doing a great disservice to their children when they end up doing all this work on their own.

It makes children believe that either they are incapable of doing such work or they feel entitled to have someone else always do the work for them which are both not the messages that we want to send to our children.


How to raise self-reliant and responsible kids?


  1. Decide on chores as a family.

Discuss all the things that need to be done and divide them up as a family with everyone’s agreement. Your kids may not be able to do everything on the list but they will be able to help with plenty of chores around the house. For example, you could be the one who cooks dinner but they can help you wash and put away the dishes.


  1. Set up rules and consequences.

All the chores and house rules should be crystal clear to your kids, along with the consequences of not following them. They should understand that there will be repercussions for not following the rules and for not doing their part. For example, if they do their chore of cleaning up the kitchen counters, only then you’ll be able to prepare dinner. Also, try to make the consequence related to the family rule that’s broken. If your child refuses to clean up the counter, then they will be responsible to either cook the meal or chip in for take-out with their allowance.


  1. Take a step back.

As hard as it is for some parents, it’s important to step back and allow kids to take decisions and make some mistakes before learning how to correctly do something. If you’re constantly hovering over them, telling them what to do and how to do it, it’ll make them shaky and less confident in their abilities. As your child starts doing their chores, give some verbal guidance and encouragement, then give them space to figure things out on their own.


  1. Do some prep work.

Sometimes, the reason for kids not helping out at home or doing their part is simply because they don’t know how. Maybe you expect them to know how to sort laundry or to dry dishes by seeing you do it many times, but perhaps they need you to actually show them how it’s done. Take time out to teach, train and inform your child how a task is done so it is easier for them to do it when it’s their turn.


It may not happen overnight but by practicing these strategies regularly, you will start seeing a more self-reliant and responsible side to your kids very soon.



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About the Founder

Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.

Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.

As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions. 

Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.