Children and Responsibility

Children and Responsibility

Being responsible means being dependable, keeping promises and honoring our commitments. It is accepting the consequences for what we say and do. It also means developing our potential. Children need to learn that being part of a family and a community involves accepting responsibilities.

When each of us acts responsibly, our families and communities will be stronger.

As parents or adults what can we do?

  • Make agreements with your child and expect him to follow through.
  • When things go wrong, help your child take responsibility for their part and make a plan to do things differently next time.
  • Encourage your child to find out more about the world and how their actions may affect others far away.

People who are responsible don’t make excuse for their actions or blame others when things go wrong. They think through and use good judgement before they take action. They behave in ways that encourage others to trust them.

People who are responsible take charge of their lives. They make plans and set goals for nurturing their talents and skills. They are resilient in finding ways to overcome adversity. They make decisions, taking into account obligations to family and community.

Children learn about strong character when parents and other adults in their daily lives:

  • set a good example through their own behavior and actions,
  • set and communicate high standards and clear expectations,
  • coach them on how to be responsible and kind, and
  • use literature to reinforce the values of strong character.


Remember that children do not learn the values that make up strong character simply by being told about them. They learn by seeing the people around them act on and uphold those values in the daily lives. In our daily lives, we can show our children that we respect others. We can show them our compassion and concern when others are suffering, and our own self-discipline, courage and honesty as we make difficult decisions. How we conduct our everyday activities can show our children that we always try to do our best to serve our families, communities, and country.



U.S. Department of Education, Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs: Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen. Jessup, MD: ED Pubs Education Publications Center, 2003