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How to Raise Responsible Kids

Ali Katz


My guess is that if we did a poll of every parent we know and asked them what they most want for their kids, what we would find at the core is that we all want to raise responsible kids.

We may each have a different definition of what responsible means, but after working with many families to plan for the children’s future, I can say with confidence that raising a responsible child is a hallmark of success for most parents.

Once your child becomes seen and known as responsible, your level of freedom and ease increases substantially.

In service to that, I will be sharing with you a series of articles on How to Raise Responsible Kids, starting with this one.

The first step in raising responsible kids, means truly understanding the meaning of the word “responsible”, so we’ll start there.

The classic dictionary definition of responsible is not what I am speaking of here, though many parents do get that confused. So let’s untangle any confusion there.

One dictionary definition of responsible is:

“having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role.”

Many parents have confused the kind of responsible that provides real peace and true security, which I’ll speak to in a moment, with this kind of responsible, which is more of obligation or duty than responsible.

Responsibility based in obligation or duty, especially for the up and coming generations, is no longer a sustainable paradigm. The Millennials and Gen-Y’ers I know are rarely motivated by obligation or duty for any length of time, often preferring to go without rather than to take action from anything other than inspiration.

The Boomer (and even Gen-X) generations are slowly waking up to the possibility of responsibility based in inspiration rather than obligation, but for many it’s still a foreign concept.  If it is for you, perhaps consider a shift in perspective that will make it far more likely your children will be the responsible members of society you hope they will be.

Responsibility does not mean that your children are able to live up to their obligations, hold down a job in the same way you did, or even re-create the lifestyle you’ve been able to provide for them (though all those things would, of course, be great), it means that your children are “able to be trusted to do what is right.”

Over the rest of this series, I’ll look at several different examples of what this means in various contexts, including money, relationship, and work so you can begin to bring more awareness to what it means and how you can have the true peace of mind and security that comes with raising responsible kids.