Teaching kids responsibility is a hard thing. It takes a lot of restraint to not bail your kids out when they mess something up. And I don’t think it gets any easier the older they get (at least that’s what my good friend Lysa TerKuerst tells me).
Like the other day, my kids didn’t clean up after playing outside. Later, I ran over a new basketball. It was an accident but how can they learn to be responsible if it never costs them anything? My husband made them each pay us $5 to cover the cost. That’s hard considering the amount of money they have. But if it didn’t cost them anything, they won’t think twice next time.
A while back we were running into a problem with our DSi games. My boys love their Nintendo DS. And I have a love-hate relationship with video games in general. Sometimes I hate being the video game nazi but that is a whole other post. DS games are small. Tiny. About 1 square inch and they are very easily lost. A couple years ago I felt like my boys were always losing their games or leaving them at grandparents houses. I felt like I was the only one who even tried to keep up with them.
So I made a rule: If you lose a DS game, you may NEVER own it again. No one can gift it to you. You may not save up to buy it again. You can never own it again.
I know this seems extreme but can I tell you, we have only lost 1 game that I can think of in the past 3 years.
Sometimes you have to make an extreme rule to teach your children to care about their stuff. Elijah recently lost his school sweatshirt (it did not have his name in it). I found it funny that he didn’t ask me to buy another one. Maybe he knows I will say no. Maybe he doesn’t care because he doesn’t like wearing coat. But either way I don’t plan on replacing it. He can save up his money if he wants one this year. Otherwise, he’ll have to wait until next year.
I don’t pretend to do everything right with my children. But I have a big vision for each of my kids and getting them there is not going to be easy. I have to remind myself that it is easier for them to learn it with a lost video game or a sweatshirt than a lost wallet or cell phone. And if I have to be the bad guy, then I will.