Promote Responsibility by Asking for Assistance

Just as no one can place knowledge or wisdom into the head of another, no one can make another person responsible. Although responsibility can be delegated, it does not become effective until taken. A much-overlooked opportunity is for young people to help parents.

In former generations, the parents were the center of the household and children were expected to assist in the running of that household. Very often in today’s family, the emphasis is on giving to children, rather than on the children doing the giving.

An effective way for parents to gain respect and assistance is to refrain from doing some favors for their youngsters and let their youngsters perform services for them. A simple way to do this is for the parent to express a need, giving the child an opportunity to help.

Children (and adults) grow by giving. Some examples are, “I need quiet time,” “I need you to help me put the groceries away,” or “I need your help with dinner.” Machiavelli made the point: People are by nature as much bound by the benefits they confer as by those they receive.

A request for assistance is easy to hear. This approach is proactive and is more effective than a reactive approach that criticizes, blames, or complains, such as, “You should have helped me with the groceries.”

Try asking for assistance tonight.