With Responsibilities Come Privileges

 

 

Someone asked what privileges our children gain with responsibilities.  I had to really think about that one because the privileges are more natural rather than necessarily tangible.


Some privileges follow the accomplishment of a task or the conquering of some area that has been a particular struggle in a child's life.  Other privileges are the natural outflow of a child being characterized by faithfulness and responsibility.  Our 13-year-old was recently released from breakfast and lunch clean-up duties because he had shown extraordinary faithfulness in that area since he was a tot.


Until a child can show self control and the ability to accomplish tasks without being directly supervised, he cannot spend a day with Dad at his office.  The bored and immature child cannot be trusted to keep himself constructively occupied while Dad is busy at his work.  They love this privilege because they get to go out to breakfast and lunch, are doted upon by staff members, and occasionally get to have their teeth cleaned (ok, I can already hear your snickers at this one...)


The child who shows self control around peers in situations where Mom and Dad are keeping a watchful eye gains the privilege of more play opportunities with friends.  He or she may also be released to participate in class settings- art, music, martial arts, etc.  But until we can trust the child to act responsibly, respectfully, and with self control, we will not allow them to be in a group setting without our shepherding presence.  It took a long time for one of our children to gain this privilege, and even now we keep an eye out for any of his old habits to manifest themselves.  He has missed his martial arts class several times this year because we felt he needed a gentle reminder.


For the preschool set, some natural priveleges might be getting to stay up later than usual after taking a nap, getting dessert after eating a lesser-liked meal without complaint, or getting to choose a movie because the little one had yielded to another sibling's desires earlier in the day.  After a day of cheerful obedience, we might reward the child with three cheers from the whole family at the dinner table, an extra bedtime story, or the opportuity to stay up 15 minutes later with mom and dad.  Little ones are delighted with little privileges.  Just make sure you communicate what a BIG accomplishment they've achieved!