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Responsibility and Children  -  Four  

This will be the last article in the series on responsibility in children.  The school year is heating up and you will probably get this about the time of the first progress report.  I encourage those of you with school age children to think about how you are balancing out responsibility for your children’s academic performance.  How much are you taking on and how much are you leaving with them.

Try to create an environment where you support, and perhaps push, their academic achievement, but do it in a way that leaves them responsible for what they actually do.  At the core, this means you have to let them experience the consequences of what they do in the real world, in their school. 

Instead of struggling with them day by day to make sure their homework is done, set up consequences for not having their homework completed and turned in.  Instead of corralling them and forcing them to study for a test, or perhaps even drilling them yourself, set up expectations for performance they need to live up to in order to maintain certain privileges.

Of course, you need to make sure your expectations are within your student’s capabilities.  This is a big subject that can’t be adequately addressed here, but the bottom line is some students will need more support than others.  However, if the students are seeking the support themselves because of their motivation to meet a goal, the support will be much more beneficial to them than if they reject the support because they aren’t invested in the goal in the first place.  Think of your most important task as creating motivation rather than creating outcome.