How to be Responsible Parents

By Kathryn Hatter
Smiling parents sitting on couch with their daughter.
Smiling parents sitting on couch with their daughter.

As parents, the responsibilities you have for your offspring are far-reaching. From buying new shoes when they outgrow their old ones to making sure your kids treat others with kindness, your parenting tasks are many, varied -- and constant. Being a responsible parent involves supervision, interaction and instruction on a daily basis.

Disciplining Consistently

Disciplining a child involves ongoing teaching of desired behavior, values and safety, advises educator Janet Ray, in an article titled “To Discipline Means to Teach.” Responsible parents understand the need to discipline kids throughout childhood to teach them the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Consistent limits will eventually teach children to discipline themselves to stay within the boundaries, according to the KidsHealth website.

Supervising without Rescuing

Responsible parenting involves supervising and maintaining involvement in children’s lives. Children have physical needs, including food, clothing, shelter and medical care. But parents must also be involved and watchful during leisure time at home and on play dates with friends as well as at social events and extracurricular activities. As you supervise your children, seek a balance between supporting them and stepping in to assist or solve problems, cautions Tim Elmore, author, leadership expert and doctor of ministry, in an interview with Forbes. Rescuing children repeatedly without allowing them to work out their own solutions may create overly dependent kids. Appropriate support involves talking about a situation and brainstorming possible solutions. Rescuing might involve taking charge of a situation to fix it without discussing it and giving a child input on how to resolve it herself.

An Investment of Time

Parents have a responsibility to spend time with children, advises public motivational speaker Richard Worzel, in an article published on TEACH website. Spending time with kids involves being together in the evenings after dinner and on weekends, playing, talking, reading, exercising or taking outings. Quality time can also involve teaching and completing household chores together. The time spent with your kids will show them firsthand how important they are to you.

Teaching Accountability and Independence

Children need to learn self-care skills to foster independence. Skills will start with basics, such as feeding and dressing themselves. As children grow older, skills will expand to include completing homework, performing sports and learning to drive a car. A parent has the responsibility to teach skills and encourage children to assume responsibility for performing them. Parental responsibility also includes holding children accountable for mistakes and failures, because these consequences teach life lessons, states educator Sara Bean, writing for the Empowering Parents website. For example, a child who procrastinates about completing a school assignment might not finish it on time, which could result in a lower grade.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.