Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stepping up to responsibility…and freedoms


In our family of 7 we are constantly on the look-out for children who are read to “step-up” to new responsibilities,  including chores.  Making these “upward” transitions happen can be  hard work,  as they  involve much training, and more often than not they also involve  shuffling multiple responsibilities around. But it is well worth it in the long run.

Recently our eldest had a sleepover at her Nanna’s house, and the next morning her younger sister offered to do her job - which is emptying the dishwasher.  We jumped at the opportunity, and she showed us that she was capable of doing it.  And so, over the next few days everyone’s dish-related duties got shuffled around. At first this caused a bit of consternation (and the odd broken plate), but now the new routine seems to be ticking along quite nicely. Phew!

When you have a “win” these transitions can serve as a good guide as to where the child could be,  in terms of their freedoms.  When they demonstrate that they can carry out a new task, which requires greater responsibility, they may also be demonstrating their readiness to be given new freedoms.

It’s often “easier” for us to keep our children’s boundaries tighter than they need to be as it keeps us, the parents, “in control”. However the frustration that results for both the child and parent is unnecessary if we remember we are working towards the goal of maturing our children in Godly character, such as dependability and responsibility. After all, we can always bring the boundaries back in if the child is not ready for the new freedom!

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