Q: My child is not responsible. I ask her to do things and she does not follow through.

I can’t assume that she will do her homework on her own, turn in slips to her teacher or finish small jobs around the house. I am always checking in on her. How do I get her to become more responsible?


A: Building responsibility in a child is a big part of helping your child become independent and ready for the real world while building self-confidence. Oftentimes, as parents who want to help, we hinder our children by becoming too involved and not allowing natural consequences to play a role. The following are some guidelines for raising responsible kids:

  1. Give children tasks they can handle. “You need to put all of your clean clothes into your drawers. Once that is done you can watch TV.”
  2. See if the task is done correctly. “Mom can I watch TV? Hannah Montana is on.”
  3. Let equal parts of empathy and consequences do the teaching. “Shoot, you are going to have to miss the show until those clothes are put away. I hope you don’t miss too much.”
  4. Repeat the task another time.

You can use this same sequence with many of the tasks you give. Eventually, if you remain consistent, your children will do their tasks and slowly develop responsibility.