Looking after what is yours.
In our home we had certain age levels before the kids were allowed to do something. They weren't allowed to turn off the shower until they were old enough to understand that the hot tap goes first and then the cold. They weren't allowed to touch the kettle until they understood that they could get seriously hurt from the boiling water. They weren't allowed to change their own sheets or use the vacuum cleaner until they were a certain age.
These milestones, were celebrated as something to look forward to. The little things that we do everyday is something that can be taken for granted. I am aware of many children that don't help cook dinners with their parents, don't vacuum their own room or make their own bed. I even once met a 13 years old that didn't turn on the shower for himself. I don't think that these are extreme cases, but they are things that can be easily prevented.
Keeping in mind the child's age, trusting the kids with certain tasks teaches them that they have earned your respect. That they can be responsible for something important. When you give the kids things to be responsible for you are helping with their emotional development. You are teaching them what is important in every ones lives, not just their own.
My middle child told us that she wanted a camera for her birthday and that was all. She said that the camera would be the perfect gift. So we went out and bought her one of the cheaper cameras out there and said that if she could learn to look after it then we would be able to get her a better one. This responsibility of looking after this camera was big step for her.
To start with she had a special spot for it and made sure that it was always in its case, treating it like the treasure that it was. After the 'New' feeling had waned though, she would start to forget about it. It wasn't as special anymore and she would be a little careless with it. This is when, as parents, we stepped in and started to talk about her camera. We would ask her if she wouldn't mind taking a few photos of certain things to keep her interested.
With this new interest she started to look after it a little more. It went back to the prized position on the shelf until she ended up getting a new one. I would like to think it is because we helped her remember to be responsible of the camera.
Every family is different and we have different priorities when it comes to responsibility. That has a lot to do with the way that we were brought up and what we were taught to prioritise. I have and Australian Dad and a Uruguayan Mother. Never really having the money to lead extravagant lives made us treasure what we had.
How were you raised responsibly? What was your job in the house goring up?
Do you have a memory of when your were first able to do something?
Chip the kids if you notice the kids not being responsible for something, or showing disrespect for other peoples things.
Make sure that you reward them when they are responsible and show respect.