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Responsibility starts at home

Deb Van HoorelbekeYouthZone Counselor

“How do I help my child to be more responsible?” This is a question that parents commonly ask in our parenting classes and I struggled with myself during the years I raised teens who were foster children.There is a great CD/tape out by Betsy Geddes through the Love and Logic Institute called “Responsible Parents Raise Responsible Children.” This is a humorous and very informative tape with extremely useful parenting tools anyone can use. You can order it from http://www.Loveandlogic.comGeddes focuses on “What do I have control over as a parent?” In YouthZone’s parenting classes, we discuss at length a number of tools that we can use as parents.Pick your battles (a very important tool), otherwise everything becomes a battle. Ask yourself: Whose problem is this? Am I modeling “responsibility” for my child? What type of parent am I? Do I insist that my child take responsibility for his/her actions? Irresponsible kids tend to blame their mistakes/problems on everyone else instead of taking responsibility for what belongs to them.Do my children depend on me to “rescue them” by making excuses for their misbehavior or by stepping in and “handling” things that they are perfectly capable of learning to do for themselves. When we rescue our children it gives them the message that they are not capable of taking care of their responsibilities or that you as the parent will always be there to bail them out of their problems.When we are “consultant parents” (a Love and Logic phrase that we use in parenting classes) this is a bonus for our children. A consultant parent is the parent who asks the child, “How do you intend to fix this?” or “I think you need some time to come up with a plan as to how you are going to fix this; let me know by dinner time what you intend to do.” Now, depending on the severity of the problem that needs to be “fixed” the child needs to be involved at some level in making it right (this also takes into consideration the child’s age, etc).When your teen son comes home on Saturday night, late from the agreed-upon curfew and leaves the car with fumes of gas you have limited choices as a parent. You can rant, rave and rescue or you can let him know that you want to hear from him tomorrow how he intends to make amends to this problem. One of the things you can do as parents when you are dealing with teenagers is to treat them like roommates. Would you allow a roommate to treat you in this same manner?We all have the same goal in mind for our children: that they become responsible young adults.I encourage you to check out the upcoming Parenting classes offered through YouthZone. There are classes scheduled for Parenting with Love and Logic, and Parenting Your Out of Control Teen. There are also classes being held in Spanish. Location of the various classes will be: Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Carbondale, Aspen. Call any YouthZone office for details: 945-9300, 625-3141, 927-1545, or 963-0618.Deb Van Hoorelbeke is a YouthZone counselor.


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