Welcome back to the fourth and final article in our series on How to Raise Responsible Kids. You can read part 1, where we defined what responsibility means here, and part 2, where we shared the first step to raising kids who are responsible with money here, and part 3 where we shared how to raise kids who are responsible in relationships here.
This post focuses on how to use your relationship with your kids’ other parent as the model to show your kids how to be responsible in relationship. If your kids’ other parent is not in the picture, consider this as applicable to anyone close to you that your child sees you interacting with, including your own parents.
How we behave in relationship to (or about) our kids’ other parent may be the single biggest influencer we have on our kids’ overall well-being and emotional/mental health.
Remember, your child is the reflection of both you and her other parent. When you speak poorly about that other parent, it has two significant negative impacts:
- Your child internalizes the negative comments about his other parent and begins to feel self hatred and may even stop trusting you, without even knowing that’s happened; and
- Your child begins to believe it’s okay to talk negatively about other people and possibly that blame is in the spectrum of what it means to do what is right.
Later on in life, when you wonder why your child makes such poor choices in relationship and does not often do the right thing, you will be faced with realizing that you modeled that by how you interacted with his or her other parent (or someone else close to you).
The good news is that it’s never too late to repair your own poor choices in relationship. It starts with you taking full responsibility and modeling that for your child.
It’s why when it comes to money, we recommend you model responsibility by integrating older or adult children into your estate planning conversations as early as possible.
When you show your kids what it means to be responsible and you trust yourself to do the right thing, by doing it, you are well on your way to raising responsible kids.