Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

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Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby TainanCowboy » 03 Aug 2011, 14:48

Our Son will be 16 in Sept. He will be starting his 2nd year of High School when classes resume.

How does one teach a child personal responsibility for their actions given the "chabuduo"(sp?) culture of Taiwan?

I have thought a great deal about how to phrase this question. I hope it is understandable.
This problem seems to grow as our Son ages and has more peer influence.

I do know, there are no "easy" answers to this question.


Thanks
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby Jaboney » 03 Aug 2011, 15:05

Jobs and sport probably worked best for me.

I was pretty disinterested in being a handyman and puttering (or doing chores) around the house with dad. But time-sensitive jobs -- delivering papers when I was 12, farm work and picking berries when I was 13 and 14, working at McDonalds at 15 -- were instructive. (McDonalds is particularly good at training.) Spending my own money on hockey gear, CDs, whatnot, schooled me right quick. And it was satisfying. Then I got a job that promoted laziness and unlearned a few lessons, so have a care.

Some lessons are best learned away from mom and dad -- people who don't give a rats ass about you, but care a good deal about your performance, sometimes drive lessons home in ways that stick.

Maybe not a viable solution given how much time Taiwanese schooling can demand.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby whitetiger » 03 Aug 2011, 15:33

Take away privileges, at least until they are earned.(computer, cell, etc) Then he will learn the difference between a right and a privilege. Does he have chores to do at home? Does he get free money? Volunteering would be an excellent experience for him. There should be consequences when he is irresponsible.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby CraigTPE » 03 Aug 2011, 15:57

IMO, it's all about consequences. Make him earn his keep. If he does the work, he gets $$, or whatever. Good consequences. If he screws up, hold him accountable. Bad consequences. When people learn there are real consequences to their actions, they learn quickly.

My own upbringing for example. My parents took care of the essentials, but my brother and I had to earn everything else. We were also financially rewarded for good grades, and financially penalized for any bad grades. We hated it at the time, but have since both thanked our parents for teaching us financial responsibility.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby divea » 03 Aug 2011, 16:56

Being responsible yourself.Then you can expect the child to be responsible and you SHOULD expect the child to do it. what Jaboney said is all true and can be tools to the teaching but if you are not the role model, then the going will be tough.

On a side note, we have an ugly duckling in the family. A sly, street smart, manipulative, never got good grades, passed school because his father paid for it etc. fella. He's married now and for all practical purposes lives off his wifey. And one day I was ribbing him about, 'How did you turn out to be such a bastard?' and he said, 'Nothing better was expected out of me. I was the younger child, playful and naughty, the first one was perfect and I was slow in studies, so expectations from me were not just low in academics, they were just lower generally'. It was really an eye opener.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby baberenglish » 03 Aug 2011, 17:29

when I was a teenager, life lessons were best learned at home. giving jobs/responsibilities is the best way, learn through positive reinforcement. negative reinforcement is the easiest way for a parent, but in my mind, the most harmful for a teenager. teenagers are a clever bunch; they know how to get out of something if they don't want to do it. they won't learn through peers at school, here or back home. remember how you learned about life? probably not too much through the school system. my parents believed the merits of working for something, be it academically or financially.
I have been teaching in the junior high/senior high students here for a number of years. the ones that have solid parenting stand out. they actually gleem. they are polite, well spoken, generally mature and do what is expected. I don't measure on grades because to me that isn't a true measure of how a teenager should be assessed. I have taught lots of yahoos that are excellent academically, but a zero in the 'life' department.
giving a teenager a choice is a great, rewarding way. it gives them freedom to choose and are able to choose between right and wrong. self-confidence. self-esteem. consequences? sure. within reason. but be patient. expectations? okay. to each their own.
one important way, in this 'chabuduo' society is to limit the tv/computer access. there are way too many students that go home and are glued to that thing at night. there is a positive correlation between those who have limited access and those who are just thrown in front of it. how much time do they really need in front of it?
I always remember some of my classmates that were spoiled growing up, most of them didn't amount to much. the ones that worked for what they got were well respected in my books. in taiwan, learning to earn what you have is important, but unfortunately, the concept of a part time job in high school doesn't really balance like it does in NA. having a interest or hobby outside of school also is another way to teach students about life's lessons.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby TainanCowboy » 03 Aug 2011, 17:49

I appreciate the responses.
I am very rushed this evening, but I will respond further later.
Thank you for the kindness.
"Pardon him, Theodotus; he is a barbarian and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature" --- "Caesar and Cleopatra"...G.B. Shaw
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"The big sisters are usually hot, but the dads smell of alcohol and tobacco....and have dirty feet with dead toe nails in blue slippers. "...Bob_Honest on "The Culture"
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby Jive Turkey » 03 Aug 2011, 22:00

TC, the following suggestion may appeal to the stoic soldier in you.

Our boy is only five, but we have already started to instill in him the idea that the only thing in his life that he can control is himself. We feel that this is a key idea in the development of a person's self discipline and the ability to handle the difficulties and unfairness that one encounters in life. Whenever our boy is on the receiving end of something that is not under his control and he reacts undesirably to it, we ask him who/what he can control. The only answer we accept from him is "me." Our son is pretty clear that if he says that so and so snatched his toy first/hit him first/screamed first/used foul language first blablabla, and so that is why he hit, screamed or used foul language in return, our response will be be "tough luck son, but you can only control yourself, not what others do."

To me this is a much more universal principle than other important maxims such as "two wrongs don't make a right," "do unto others as you would have done to you" or "if everybody jumped off bridge..." A young person needs to understand that no matter how bad a situation is or how unfairly he is being treated, he will still be in control of how he reacts, and that it is important that he reacts correctly rather than just blow with the wind or buckle under pressure. His choices for what to do may not be attractive, but they are still his choices to make and he does not have to react to unjust, spiteful, irresponsible or immoral behavior on the part of others with the same kind of behavior. All of the suggestions from other posters are good ones, but I feel that young people also need a simple yet philosophical compass to help them decide what behavior is correct.

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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby touduke » 05 Aug 2011, 09:20

to address TC's question
How does one teach a child personal responsibility for their actions given the "chabuduo"(sp?) culture of Taiwan?


This is a very good question and IMO phrased very well. I think in Taiwan it's an impossible task given that the concepts of fairness, common sense, truth and honesty are all subordinate to the concept of face.
The way people communicate is so much influenced by this 'face thing', the way straight answers are avoided like a disease, the way vague and fuzzy & sugarcoated language is used to avoid confrontation all serves the purpose of creating an environment in which personal responsibility & accountability is reduced, is avoided, is non-existent. As a consequence "chabuduo culture" is rampant in every aspect of life, schooling, traffic, law enforcement and each and every communicational situation.

After so many years in Taiwan I felt ok with all this, but being a father changed everything.
It is difficult seeing my son growing up here.

A tiny little example from this very morning.
I brought him to the kindergarten and helped him change into the canvas shoes provided by the kindy. He complained that they are too big and that it hurts him walking in it the whole day. (these are his shoes, he wears them every day).
One of the kindy lady asked what the problem was (we were speaking German) and when I told her that his feet hurt in those shoes she laughed and told him "big shoes are better than too small ones". I thought "WTF". In this moment the boss of the kindergarten came to great us and when she heard about 'the problem' she came up with "ah, you will grow into those shoes, that's not a problem".
My natural instinct is to ask them to give my son shoes that fit - my natural instinct is to tell them that their attitude is lacking a little, but doing this I will make them lose face and they will blame me for that.
I will do it anyway cause I love my son.
But if he grows up here he will learn that "chabuduo culture" is the natural way to do things - all my powers as a father can't compete with the whole of Taiwan.

to use Jive Turkey's words
it is important that he reacts correctly rather than just blow with the wind or buckle under pressure

The definition of "correct reaction" here in Taiwan differs a great lot from what I see as correct.
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Re: Teaching Your Child to be Responsible

Postby Elegua » 05 Aug 2011, 11:03

I don't know if there are any pat answers. By 16, things are pretty well established. My son is just 12 and I face similar issues. The only answer I have is to stick to the principles that you taught from day one. People seems to try to erode that moral compass daily, and not just in Asia. I see it daily in the over-achieving parents I run into at the International schools. My big beef is the attitude of you did nothing wrong if you didn't get caught ,and how using back channels or illegitimate means to get things you may not deserve is perfectly OK.

I can only say that trying to live as an example, constant reinforcement and instilling the idea that because it might be common does by no means make it right, is the way I've attempted it.

An example I am very proud of is how during last year's sailing championship in Singapore, in one race my son got a 1st place out of 90+ boats, but along the way rounded a mark the wrong way because he didn't pay attention to the racing instructions. And while this did not actually change his finish position, he did break the rules and should be disqualified. Apparently, no one noticed this and the race committee finished him normally. I didn't see the details since I was on shore. By his own volition, after he got on shore he went to the race committee and told them he was withdrawing. This meant that he would likely lose a chance at getting on the podium. To my shock, the race committee, a group of "officials" told him not to, to wait to see if anyone protested him before withdrawing. Naturally he came to me conflicted. I said I didn't know the answer, but I asked whether he thought that was right, and how did he feel about the result knowing how he got it? After thinking about it, he went back to withdraw. Secretly I was very happy. I was also very annoyed when they made him ask twice before they let him finally withdraw. "Are you sure? Are you sure? You'll get 92 points. Did anyone protest? Did anyone see you?" Amazing! These people were supposed to uphold the rules! But, thankfully he stood his ground and withdrew. I think he ended up with a 10th or so overall. But I did let him know I much more proud of him for withdrawing than for finishing 10th. He's a better man than I am, for sure. I just hope he stays that way.
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