We all want our children to grow into dependable caring adults. Here are seven techniques to make this goal a reality.
1. Begin when your child is young
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Child Behavior Help
for children 2-11
As soon as your child is old enough to understand, he can begin to help. It might be something as simple as bringing you a clean diaper or handing you the bottle when he is finished.
Children have a strong desire to help. Even children younger than two years old want to do things to help their parents.
You can encourage your child by creatively finding things for him or her to do and then giving lots of praise. This will help build your child’s confidence and self-esteem, and it will set up a pattern of helping out early in your child’s life.
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2. Do not buy your child’s help
Do not give your child rewards in exchange for helping. You want to build an internal desire to assist you, not one based upon receiving payment.
You want your child to learn the pleasure of giving to others. When he gets a reward for assisting, you teach him to focus on what he will get, instead of how he can give.
This does not mean you never give your child anything for helping. It just can’t be perceived as a “payment”.
This is how you should do it.
After your child does something for you, say,
“I really appreciate how you helped me and I want to do something nice for you, too. I am going to call your father and have him bring home the movie that you want to see.”
When you reward your child this way, what you are really doing is showing your gratitude. You are not paying a reward for work.
This is better than a reward for a number of reasons. You are showing your child your gratitude, which is the real reward. You are motivating your child to help without the expectation of receiving payment at the end. In the back of your child’s mind he realizes that on occasion he may receive something unexpected when he helps, which adds an extra motivation to help.
3. Let the natural consequences of your child’s mistake occur
We don’t want our children to suffer if we can help them avoid it. But, parents who protect their child from the consequences of their actions are making a big mistake.
Our goal as parents is to teach our child to be good, responsible adults. In the adult world no one is going to shelter your child when he is careless or reckless.
When your child makes a mistake, you do him no favors by bailing him out. Let your child learn to be dependable by taking responsibility for his actions and his mistakes.
4. Acknowledge when your child is acting responsibly
Everybody loves recognition. When you point out times that your child is behaving in a trustworthy fashion, you are encouraging him to continue this type of behavior in the future.
5. Make responsibility a family value
Discuss being responsible with your child. Let them know that it is something that you value.
Let your children see you being dependable. Your child will learn much more from what you do than from what you say. Be a good role model.
6. Give your child an allowance
Let your children make their own money decisions from an early age. They will make mistakes, but don’t bail them out. It is better for them to learn what happens when they run out of money while the stakes are low, than it is to learn this when the lives of their children are involved.
7. Believe in your child
This is perhaps the most important way to make your child responsible. Children have no clear cut picture of themselves. They get their self-image from how those around them respond to them.
If you view your child as being responsible, he will grow to fit your expectations. On the other hand, if through your words or actions you let your child know that you feel you need to look after him and that you do not feel he is reliable, he will fit that expectation.
How you view your child will shape who he will become. If you truly believe that your child is capable of keeping commitments and behaves in a responsible fashion, your child will become responsible. Period.
Bonus Technique: Give your child responsibility
Children don’t become more dependable with age. They become more reliable by taking on responsibility. The only way your child will ever become reliable and dependable is by exercising these traits.
Give your child a chance to show you what he can do. He will grow from the opportunity. He will grow even more from the mistakes that he makes. Either way, when you give your child the opportunity and you believe in him, he will move toward becoming a well functioning responsible adult.
For an easy step-by-step plan to build your relationship with your child and end your child’s difficult behavior forever,
For children 2-11 go to
For teens 12 and older go to
For more information on how to handle your ODD child or teen:
If your child is 2-11 go to:
If your child is 12 and older go to: