Teaching Your Kids About the Character Trait of Dependability - MetroFamily Magazine
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Teaching Your Kids About the Character Trait of Dependability

by Gayleen Rabukkuk

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

That important project at work needed just a little more tweaking, so you called home and talked with your oldest about feeding the dog, getting dinner started and doing homework. When you open the front door, you are greeted by a very hungrylooking dog, no delicious smells are wafting from the kitchen and the book bags are both parked beside the door.

“Randy?” Very shortly your young teenager emerges from the game room, Wii remote in hand. “Randy, did you feed Pokey and put the lasagna in the oven?”

The smile disappears from your son’s face. “Uh, I forgot. But I’ll feed him now.” He leads the dog away before you can ask about dinner. What you suspected is confirmed when you enter the kitchen. The oven is cold and empty—the lasagna sits in the freezer, a full hour and a half away from the table.

As you contemplate an alternative for dinner, Michael whizzes in to fill his juice glass. “Mom, I beat Randy at Wii boxing!”

“That’s great.” You worry whether that has impacted the homework progress, but congratulate him before popping the question. “How’s the homework, Buddy?”

You end up overseeing homework while you wait for the pizza delivery. Then over dinner you discuss dependability—fulfilling what is promised, even if it requires unexpected sacrifice.

Whether it is doing your job at home, at school or on the soccer field, if others know they can count on you to get the job done, you quickly move into the category of “most valuable player.” Being reliable often leads to positive recognition, whether in the form of promotion, pay raise or extra privileges.

As parents, it is our job to prepare our children for the increased responsibilities they will face as they grow into adults. We do this by teaching them to be dependable with small commitments at first. As children master small obligations, they become increasingly prepared to manage greater things.

One of the most important things we can do in this area is set a good example for our children. If they see that we follow through on the commitments that we make, they will recognize the importance of keeping the promises they make.

Gayleen Rabakukk is a freelance writer who spends her time in Edmond keeping up with her teenage and preschool daughters.

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