Parenting Grade-School Children — Responsibility Training
by Jeffrey W Hamilton
Text: Lamentations 3:25-36
I. How quickly our children grow
A. The years between five and nine seem to quickly fly by
B. The children enter school.
C. Relationships with people outside family develops
2. Friends - usually strongly attached to same sex
D. Sibling rivalry common especially with those of the opposite sex
E. Growth is steady; slower than earlier years; slower than next age period.
F. They have their own ideas about what they would like to do, which are often in conflict with their parent’s desires.
1. Moan and groan about chores.
2. Not that it is taking them away from anything important, but it is not what they want to do at the moment.
II. Children need to learn responsibility for their own actions
A. No longer can you watch over them every minute of the day, nor should you want to.
B. Training for independence - Romans 14:12
1. A child show be able to take a fairly complex set of instructions and carry them out independently.
a. Luke 12:42-46 - We are held responsible for our actions whether God is standing over us or not.
b. Children need to learn this lesson.
(1) It won’t come immediately or naturally.
(2) There are too many other desires and too many distractions.
2. Give opportunities to fly or fall
a. Luke 19:12-26 - Note rewarding beyond expectation for especially good work
b. Give an allowance.
(1) Advise, but allow child to make his own decisions about spending.
(2) Make optional purchases their own choice.
(3) At first they buy everything, no saving. Always out of money. DO NOT HELP!
(4) They will eventually learn to save, especially if you remind them of the need to save
c. Overspending - Charge an “interest” rate, like the banks. However, don’t allow loans, it encourages bad habits.
d. Make responsible for their own wastes.
(1) If they use up all the shampoo in one bath, then they help pay for another bottle.
3. Ignorance is not an excuse, though it may soften the punishment - Luke 12:47-48.
4. Give the child choices.
a. Make sure the choices are ones you can live with (ALL the choices).
b. Tip: first choice is least likely to be accepted in general
c. God gives us choices.
d. Child stays with result of choice.
(1) The ever-changing mind. Once order is in, tough
(2) Do not give in and rescue from a poor choice.
C. Encourage personal responsibility
1. Proverbs 9:12 - You bear the results of your own action
2. Jeremiah 31:30 - We are punished for our own sins
3. Example of trying to pass the buck - Genesis 3:13.
4. It is difficult for parent when children blame each other or no one will accept responsibility.
a. In those cases, admit you can’t tell and in such circumstances all will share the punishment. Peer pressure will make sure it doesn’t happen again.
b. If someone is suddenly volunteered and it is likely everyone knew, but wouldn’t say, thank them for the honesty, but tell them it was too late this time.
5. Too often parents take on all responsiblilty.
a. If child doesn’t come for dinner, there is always breakfast.
b. If child forgets homework, he gets the grade earned.
c. Reminders, but no nagging - Proverbs 21:9
d. Older children are responsibile for their bedtime and wake up time, within reason. If they are sleepy, they live with the consequence.
D. Benefits of independence
1. Ability to resist temptations, peer pressure - I Peter 4:4-5
2. Fairer appreciation of own worth - Galatians 6:3-5
E. Tattlers and the self-appointed judges
1. Romans 14:4 - Actions of others is the decision of their parents of what is allowable.
2. Safety of others is every person’s responsibility.
a. If someone is about to do something harmful, get an adult
b. Or if must, stop it.
3. Make it clear that child is not allowed to enforce the rules (eventually, when we place them in charge, they will be given some limited authority, but that is later.)
4. Children have a tough time learning the subtle difference. (Adults have the same problem.)
1. Taking responsibility for your child’s action
a. Bad grades: “We have to study harder” instead of “You need to buckle down”
2. Rescuing from all harm
a. Driving to school when they decide to fool around before the bus comes, though there may not be a choice there.
b. Delivering forgotten homework or lunch.
c. Once or twice may not harm, but watch that it doesn’t become habitual.
A. If invested well in earlier years, spanking will be rarer, but never totally eliminated.
1. It should always be an option. Use depends on the offense, such as violent or destructive behavior.
B. Some things carry natural consequences that should be used, but some things do not.
1. Definance - it doesn’t matter how old.
a. Matthew 12:36 - We will give account for every careless word.
3. Tantrums - Try removing audience, either by sending child to room or by leaving the room.
a. However, persistence should be sternly corrected.
b. Never give in to a tantrum, even if you change your mind. You will be rewarding bad behavior.
C. Punishment should be severe enough to not want a repeat.
1. But must be willing repeat each time.
2. Some times it is the consistency that wins out, not a constant raising of the punishment.
D. Restrict the use things that child considers importance, but not after the infraction. It should be spelled out up front.
1. If grades don’t improve next quarter, TV time will be limited to one hour per day.
2. Make sure expectations are within the child’s capability. Nothing is more fustrating than a goal you can’t hope to acheive. Start easy and work up.
3. If you pick well, you can use the punishment as an opportunity to instill better habits.
E. Be clever to connect actions to consquences and make sure child assumes responsiblity for his own action.
A. People living in a house are expected to contribute to the household
1. Set table
2. Clear dishes
3. Older children can load washer, put away dishes
1. Put clothes in drawers
2. Put clothes in hamper (no clean clothes if not)
3. Fold own clothes.
4. Older children can learn to sort clothes, load washer, load dryer
D. Yard work
1. Rake leaves, grass
2. Plant garden, flowers - give an area that is all their own
3. Older children can help with shoveling snow, use spreader, use lawnmower with supervision.
1. Pick up toys when done (lose them if not picked up)
3. Older children can sweep, mop, vacuum.
F. Care for pets
1. Feed, water (make their meals dependant on animal being feed or the right to retain the animal)
2. Washing, grooming
V. Adulthood is coming and a child has to be prepared - Lamentations 3:27
A. An oxen growing up used to having a yoke doesn’t mind it.
B. In the same way, a child used to being responsible grows up to be a responsible adult.
C. We don’t lay a full adult’s burden on them, but we give them smaller versions.
D. Proverbs 22:6