When Are Kids Old Enough for Their Own Responsibilities?


Perhaps you already know this: It is never too soon to teach a child responsibility! (OK…maybe give them a few months to learn to use those muscles!) Our culture has become one that dotes on children and doesn’t expect enough of them. Spoiling children takes away their power, erodes self-confidence, and breeds selfishness. We hear a lot about entitlement these days – an attitude that the world should give a person what they want instead of having to work, struggle, or even do without. This is not some mysterious phenomenon; it is a product of raising children that are over-indulged.

If you have children in your life, take a moment to think about how much you do for them and how much they do for themselves. Is it time to start shifting more responsibility their way?  Over-indulged children often:

  • expect things to be done for them, even if they are capable
  • have many things but feel like it’s not enough
  • have difficulty waiting for what they want
  • lack gratitude and don’t show appreciation
  • are demanding
  • frustrate easily
  • won’t admit mistakes
  • put forth limited effort
  • do not think to give back, either at home or in the community

The older kids get, the harder it is to change these habits but it is well worth it and essential to becoming a fully-functioning adult. It is often easier to do for them than teach them to do for themselves…not to mention to suffer the groaning. But in the long run, wouldn’t it be amazing to see your kids taking care of their own dishes, laundry, and homework? They might well surprise you with their ability, and you will watch their confidence soar as they grow into functioning, independent adults. A nice side benefit is the extra time you will have when you’re not taking care of their stuff, too!