Teach Kids Responsibility


Are you ever so frustrated at your child’s lack of follow through you want to sentence them to time in their room or with other restrictions until they finish the task? You’re not the only one – I’ve been in that state of mind plenty of times. Let’s take a look at some parenting tactics to get us on the right path.

“The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.” Gen. 39:22

“Oh Lord, why aren’t they more responsible and why aren’t they more like so and so?!”  Our tendency might be to think God missed some key DNA when He “fearfully and wonderfully” created them, but I firmly believe God doesn’t make any mistakes.  The missing components more accurately have to do with me/us, a.k.a. the parents.

1.  Fulfill your role – be the parent.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  It’s very seldom that “great” (however you might qualify that adjective) kids or adults were solely born that way.  However special, creative, energized or ornery your child might be – they are capable of learning…we as moms and dads must be faithful to teach them.

2.  Assign responsibilities.    Aside from God’s sovereignty, Joseph might never have gotten out of chains had the chief jailer not passed responsibility on to him.  I sincerely doubt that Joseph knew all the ins and outs of daily jail duties.  This unnamed guard, who apparently deserved an Oscar for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role”, certainly allotted tasks.  You need to do the same, give your kids jobs.  Be mindful that they are age sensitive, yet know kids are capable of doing things far tougher than we expect. (Suggested Book for teens and their parents: Do Hard Things.)

3.  Coach ‘em.  I remember my dad showing me how to remove the paint from the rim of the can before putting the lid back on to prevent it from going dry over time.  Avoid put downs or words that critique your child’s character – instead address the inaccurate action or behavior.  I can still hear my mom’s repeated praises of how much she appreciated how good the floors looked after I had done my weekly chores when I was in junior high.  They’ll be motivated to do it again, and even better, as they hear our applause. 

As you are faithful to parent, I’m confident you will see 1) your child’s level of responsibility rise 2) have some additional help around the house and 3) see an increase in their self-esteem and confidence as you implement these suggestions.  But the bigger picture is that you will be equipping your child with a discipline helping them love God and love others even more than they can now.

Camper Corner

Read the verse at the top of this devotional (Gen 39:22).  As the author of this devotional, I am empoweredJ to tell you that you are like Joseph – you are a captive at this point in life.  My question to you is do you want to move into being the big dog in the pen or just live as the runt?  Assuming the former, what things can you take on and learn now in order to be handed the keys to the cell door?  Ask those in authority around you for some help, you’ll be blessed by the results of growth!

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