Teaching children responsibility

Psychologist & Author Lee Hausner, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best method for teaching your child to become personally responsible in life
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Teaching children responsibility

In order to help an individual become personally responsible, you have to let them be responsible. That means they have to be able to do it themselves. For example, a child has a project. The project is due on the 30th of March. If the child hasn’t done that project by themselves, then they will have the consequences of not being personally responsible. If you, as a parent, are going crazy two nights before the project is due, because you’re busy doing that project, then don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t become personally responsible. You know, it sounds very simple, but personal responsibility occurs, because there is nobody around servicing a child. You know, children that grow up in very impoverished environments become very responsible. Not always in the best manner, but they do, because there is nobody there to do it for them. So the whole issue of how I get to be responsible is that I am going to do it. For example, if you want your children to be responsible for taking care of their clothing and you say that clothing is not going to be washed unless it is in the laundry basket, then the clothing doesn’t get washed, unless it’s in the laundry basket. You can’t keep picking up clothes all the time and then complain about, “Oh, why won’t my child be responsible in this manner?” So there have to be some consequences for not being responsible. And when that happens, a child becomes responsible. A good example often occurs in the morning. Morning in parents’ houses is often very chaotic. We’re yelling and screaming, “Are you ready? The carpool is coming! Where are your books?” And I always said to the parents, “Stop that. Your job in the morning is to wake your child up with a kiss and say, ‘Going down to make breakfast. I’ll give you a 30 minute call when the carpool is coming.’” And then you let that child know that that child will get into the car at whatever state of dress the child is in. And all the child has to do is one time finish getting dressed and taking off the pajamas in the car and you will find that child becoming responsible.

Psychologist & Author Lee Hausner, PhD, shares advice for parents on the best method for teaching your child to become personally responsible in life


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Lee Hausner, PhD

Clinical Psychologist & Author

Dr. Lee Hausner is an internationally recognized clinical psychologist, business consultant and family wealth advisor. She served as the senior psychologist for the Beverly Hills Unified School District for 19 years. She is currently the Senior Managing Director for First Foundation Advisors. An acknowledged expert on psychological issues involving wealth and wealth transfer, she was a presenter at the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, and is a frequent participant at the high wealth/private client conferences for major financial institutions. She is a frequent guest on national radio and television and a quoted expert in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Times, Forbes, Fortune, Privilege, Town and Country and Worth Magazine.

Dr. Hausner is the co-author with Doug Freeman of A Founder's Guide to the Family Foundation, published by the Council on Foundations and is the author of the seminal work regarding wealth and the family; Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting for Prosperous Families. In addition, Dr. Hausner incorporated her unique six-step transition model for succession in family business in the critically acclaimed family business resource book Hats Off to You 2: Balancing Roles and Creating Success in Family Business, of which she was a co-author.

Dr. Hausner is a graduate of Northwestern University (BA, Psychology), San Francisco State University (MA, Psychology), and Kensington University (PhD, Psychology).

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