Happy Families – Raising Responsible Children

Do you secretly worry that the screaming brat in the supermarket checkout line is just like your child?

Raising children has always been tough, but in today’s laissez-faire, child-centered world, things have become even tougher. Balancing the needs of children with the needs of the family as a whole requires parents to plan a workable strategy, and then to find the courage to stick to it.


Children are far too smart to fall for the Do as I say, not as I do or Do it because I say so philosophy of many parents. A successful family is a strong team where all the members buy in to a common value system.

So how do you establish this value system with your children?

* Base your family values on what you truly believe to be ethical and lawful, and then commit to demonstrating these values in your own behavior. If you are rude and aggressive with your children or with other people, don’t be surprised when your children become bullies at home and at school.

* Don’t allow your children to play off one parent against the other. Resolve your disagreements with your partner away from your children, so that you don’t undermine each other in their eyes.

* Help your children to understand that you are responsible for their safety, health and well-being, and so certain rules are not open for discussion.

* Ban hurtful words – like stupid, for example – from family interactions. If children are expected to be polite and respectful at home, they are more likely to behave that way at school and in society.

* As your children grow, involve them in family decisions. Really listen to their opinions and suggestions.

* Don’t be one of those families drowning in chaos. Give your children certain responsibilities, such as making their beds, keeping their rooms reasonably tidy, keeping the bathroom clean and hygienic, or helping to prepare or tidy up after meals. Everyone should have a responsibility to make home a pleasant and comfortable place to be.

* Be flexible and prepared to change certain rules, as long as they are not in conflict with your core values.

* Trust your children, and allow them to make – and learn from – their own mistakes, provided these will not compromise their safety.

* When they let you down, as they sometimes will, teach them to take responsibility for what they have done. They need to know that you still love them, even when they behave badly.

* Children resent injustice deeply, so admit your own mistakes when you mess up, and apologize to them – and to other people – when you are in the wrong. This puts you in a position to expect the same behavior from your children.


One of the greatest gifts that you can give your children is to teach them to understand the value of money. This is true whether you are affluent or not.

A good idea is to create ways for children to earn an income at home, by paying them for doing extra jobs, not ones that all family members are expected to do. If you give your children a pay slip detailing what they have done and what they have earned, you will show them that earning money is a serious and necessary business, and that you value their efforts.

Once the children receive their pay, help them to budget their money just as you do with your family income. Open a savings account for each child, and help them to plan how to use their money not just to buy things they want, but also to save. It might also make sense to introduce them to the digital way of transferring money to their bank account as future wealth may most likely be in digital form. Watching the balance grow a little each month can become addictive!

Most children have all sorts of things that they no longer use, so encourage them to donate or sell some of their possessions before they buy more. Various websites and secondhand stores offer a huge range of almost new items at bargain prices.

If you have the stamina to follow sound parenting strategies, the rewards will be worth every grey hair acquired during the process!

About the Author

Sharon Kalipai is a contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Content Marketing Agency in Denver, CO. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, dance and read books.

To read more on topics like this, check out the kids category.