They get along better with teachers and peers. They make better decisions. They’re more apt to try, follow through and succeed.

To teach your child responsibility, be sure to:

  • Practice what you preach. For example, you can’t expect your child not to use four-letter words if you use them yourself.
  • Help your child see how his actions affect others. Develop a habit of reflection with questions like, “How do you think Jose felt when you said that?” “If someone hits you, how do you feel about him?”
  • Use discipline to teach, not punish. Always talk about what your child might do differently next time.
  • Enforce consequences regularly. In advance, be clear about what will happen when your child doesn’t follow the rules. Then follow through.
  • Remind your child of lessons learned in the past. “Remember when Eric pushed you? Remember how we talked about your walking away, then later telling him how your felt?”
  • Don’t over-protect. Let your child try new experiences as you watch out for his safety.
  • Help your child develop understanding by asking what and why questions. “What happened first?” “What are you feeling?” “Why do you think that happened?”

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