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How To Make Your Kids Responsible And Productive

How To Make Your Kids Responsible And Productive

Raising responsible and productive children can seem like an uphill battle in today’s world. Kids are exposed to technology that provides instant gratification in most areas of their lives. It takes a concerted effort to make kids responsible and productive when it comes to chores, homework, and other responsibilities.

Here are a few ways to make your kids responsible and productive.

Teach Problem-Solving Skills

Children aren’t born knowing how to solve problems. Many kids give up without trying or think there’s only one way to solve a problem. Teach your child that solving a problem can take multiple efforts. Play games that teach your child how to solve problems. Give your child puzzles to solve and play games that encourage creative thinking.

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Give your child a task and ask him to come up with at least five ways to solve the problem. For example, ask him how he could move one object from the chair to the table without using his hands. See how many creative solutions he can come up with and discuss the many solutions to the problem.

Assign Chores

Assign chores to your child to help them behave responsibly. Even young children can perform simple tasks, such as putting their dishes in the sink. Older children should be given daily chores and over time, they should require less reminders to get their chores done.

Avoid nagging your child to get their chores done. If you nag your kids, they’re less likely to take responsibility to remember what they have to get done. Instead, provide consequences if they don’t complete their chores on time.

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Motivate Your Child with Rewards

Give your child rewards for a job well done. Just like adults receive a pay check for showing up to work and doing their job, kids should earn some sort of reward for doing their jobs as well.

Provide your child with an allowance for completing their chores. Create rules about how much of their money they can spend and how much needs to be saved so you can teach your child to be responsible with money.

Establish a Schedule

Create a schedule that will help your child to be productive. Help your child set aside time to do their school work, finish their chores, and complete their daily tasks.

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Teach your child to get their work done before playing. When kids understand that they can have free time to play outside or use their electronics once their work is done, they are much more motivated to be productive.

Set Time Limits on Electronics 

Help your child establish healthy habits by setting time limits on electronics. Usually two hours of screen time, including TV, video games, and computer games, is plenty.

Encourage your child to have other interests and activities that don’t involve electronics. Well-rounded kids are likely to participate in sports, clubs, and other activities that keep them too busy to be glued to the TV.

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Provide Consequences When Necessary

Provide a consequence when your child doesn’t behave responsibly. When you give them a consequence, it will help them learn from their mistakes.

Sometimes natural consequences are enough to teach your child a lesson. If your child doesn’t get their homework done, receiving a zero might be consequence enough for them. However, sometimes, additional consequences need to be imposed. Consider taking away extra privileges, such as electronics, until your child is able to show that they can behave responsibly again.

Make it clear what they needs to do to get their privileges restored. For example, tell them they can earn their electronics back once they make up the work that they are missing at school. That places the responsibility back on them to get it done.

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Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

10 Things To Remember When Everything Goes Wrong How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative 12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime 6 Mistakes That Keep You Struggling in Life And Stuck 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

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Last Updated on November 9, 2020

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

2. No Motivation

Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

5. Upward Comparisons

Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

6. No Alternative

This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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7. Stress

As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

8. Sense of Failure

People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

9. The Need to Be All-New

People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

10. Force of Habit

Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

Final Thoughts

These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

More on Breaking Bad Habits

Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
[2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
[3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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