Suit Responsibility to Capacity
Think less about turning your kids into responsible mini adults and more about how to ensure they have a happy childhood.
Whether you homeschool or not, parents want to give their kids happy childhoods. A happy childhood doesn’t mean trouble-free. It simply means that on balance, your child feels secure—
- provided for,
- and given an abundance of satisfying experiences.
If we are more oriented toward adulthood, we focus too much on preparation for responsibilities that aren’t yet on a child’s time horizon. They can imagine a few hours when toddlers, a few days when small children, and a few weeks at a time by age ten. Months and years become easier to envision in a teen’s life. A decade is nearly impossible to imagine until you’re over 20.
That means: preparing a five year old for the day he is driving or a ten year old for the day she will pay the rent or a 15 year old for the day they retire is overkill.
A happy childhood is one suited to the age and stage of the child.
So what’s your job?
Your job is to suit any responsibilities to the capacities of that child or teen’s attention span. It’s your task to find delightful activities and experiences that cater to your child’s immediate stage of growth.
When you do, oh the delight that follows!
Side effect: skill building that is on target for that child’s capabilities. A child who is eager to hammer nails into a board is ready to learn how to handle a hammer. It makes less sense to teach “how to care for tools” before a child is ready to wield them!
Likewise, if you want a happy child, think through what enlivens and entices your child. Usually these are activities that require supervision because there’s risk and adventure built in.
Mark my words: a child who is excited to try an activity is also more open to learning the responsibilities that go with that activity—how to hold the camera or use the sharp knife or ride a horse or mix the chemicals or rearrange the furniture without damaging it.
If you want responsible kids, cater to their bravest aspirations and show them how to have what they want responsibly.
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!