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How To Teach Your Child Responsibility - Witch Three

Updated on June 15, 2011

The question of how to teach your children responsibility and when the right time to hold certain expectations of your children is one most good parents wrestle with. Times have changed to a great degree since the time most parents were children and there is now a wealth of information available as to the developmental stages of childhood . It is now known what cognitive skills and abilities children have at what stage of their childhoods. These have to be taken into consideration by responsible adults when making decisions about what children should and should not take responsibility for . At the end of this writing I make available a simple process to assist parents in determining what level of responsibility their child is willing and able to take on. This process does not apply only to children of course, it can be used by anyone wishing to or needing to up their level of "respond ability" in a chosen area of life.

We Are Born With Respond Ability

We are born with the ability to take responsibility, all of us are, each and everyone without exception. How do I know this? I know this because we all learned to tie our own shoes, and when we acquired this skill we took responsibility for the knowledge and we applied it. If that were not the case then a few of us would know how to tie shoes, take responsibility for it and go through life tying up other people’s shoes. We might even make a decent living at tying shoes for all those who did not want to take responsibility for tying their own. If the person who tied our shoes did not do so to our liking we would then turn around, wag our fingers and blame them for doing a bad job of it.

How did we lose this natural ability? We lost it because someone, somewhere along the line laughed us, made fun of us, made nothing of us, made something more important than us, blamed us, made less of us, relied on us so heavily due to their own lack of responsibility that we just didn’t want to take it all on anymore. We have been both used and abused in some form or another and so we shrink away from the area, the subject, the item or people in general. One of the biggest things that happened to us was that someone gave us more responsibility that we had the ability to respond to. This generally takes place in our childhood. Adults too often forget that when they are asking a child to do something it must be taken into consideration what stage of development that child is at and what they are and are not actually capable of taking on. An example of this would be my younger sister and brother. I was not made aware of this until many years later or I would have done something or said something about it at the time, however, both my younger siblings were well into adulthood before I caught wind of it.

Too Much Responsibility!

I moved away from home shortly before my eighteenth birthday, my younger sister was nine and my brother seven. My mother had horses, six of them and at night they were kept in a barn, four box stalls, two tie stalls and a loafing shed. There was no running water and buckets had to be filled from a big tank that caught rainwater coming off of the eaves through a downspout into the top of the tank. When I lived at home I cleaned the stalls and fed and watered the horses often with the help of my brother who was three years younger than me. This changed when I left, obviously but what I did not know was the responsibility for the tasks fell to my nine year old sister and seven year old brother! My dear little sister took on a responsibility that was far beyond her ability to respond. And, being nine, she did not even have the awareness to know that there was something very wrong with this picture. She took it on and she said nothing!

Not only was she given the responsibility of cleaning the barn and feeding the horses she also was responsible for getting my younger brother, at seven, to help her with these “chores”.

As an adult she told me that she would often sit in the corner of a box stall and cry her eyes out. As an adult she blames my brother for not helping her. They do not speak to this day!

A child’s natural ability to take responsibility is too often taken advantage of by irresponsible adults. Overtime one becomes reluctant to be responsible or act responsibly. Responsibility becomes a negative word and a painful experience. Who doesn’t flinch from pain? And so it is that the sin is passed on – when it comes to responsibility mankind has “missed the mark”.

Witches Are All About Responsibility

The Three Witches of Temptation, as stated in early writings, come about as a result of new knowledge, an acquired skill, regained ability or from moving into a bigger game. Witches are all about taking responsibility. The reason these witches appear, as ugly and twisted as they may seem, is to assist you in recognizing an opportunity to use the new knowledge or to pretend you still don’t know; to use an acquired skill or pretend you still can’t do; to apply your regained ability or to pretend that you are still incapable; to step into a new and bigger game or to continue playing the old, smaller game.  Failure to apply new knowledge, a new skill, a new ability can result in the loss of that same knowledge, skill or ability.  It is the old adage "if you don't use it, you lose it."

The Price Of Giving Up

Witches then can be a major stumbling block to changing an unwanted condition or to furthering your progress to the achievement of a goal or attainment of a dream. The reason for this is though we often need and want certain things and conditions in life we too often shirk from responsibility. In order to be what we set out to be, in order to do what we set out to do, in order to have what we set out to have we must first take full responsibility for the that be, do and have. It is important therefore that when you hand responsibility off or insist upon your child taking responsibility for an area that is well within their capabilities that you do not child shrink from taking that responsibility. 

In my life there have been many times where I have acquired knowledge, skill, an ability or wanted to play a much bigger game and I have failed to apply it or have failed to take the next step. I did not make it past the Three Witches only because I was not willing to take responsibility for what they were presenting me with. I was seduced by the temptations - one, two or all three of them (you must get past all three) in order to take the easy way out and just keep being or doing or having the same old, same old. The problem with that, and it’s a big problem is that taking the easy way out does not make life any easier on the contrary, it makes it harder,much harder! I had to hold back my knowledge, hide my skills, make nothing of my abilities and continue to play small, meaningless and destructive games. Furthermore I had to get those around me to hide their knowledge, hide their skills, make nothing of their own abilities and invite them as playmates into our sandbox. It takes an awful lot of energy and I had to dumb myself down big time in order to not be, not do,and not have.

Witch Three Appears

And so it comes to pass that Witch Three makes her appearance with the third temptation wherein my youngest daughter came to me and asked me to speak to her boyfriend's mother because she wouldn't let him do such and such. Would I please, please, pretty please talk to the horrible, wretched, nasty woman. Well, I must admit getting in between a mother and child is not my favourite place on Earth to visit but I have been known to go in “where angels fear to tread.” I am also quite given to believing that some mothers are horrible,wretched and nasty women, after all….That was the temptation, to go into agreement with my daughter’s viewpoint of her boyfriend’s mother. I smelled a witch! Instead, what I did agree to do was to sit down with the young man and talk to him. I found out from him what it was he wanted his mother to give in on and then I asked him, what part of the want he was willing to be responsible for. He told me and then I asked him,What part of _____ (want) would you rather not be responsible for? In asking him these two simple questions it became clear to him that there were aspects of what he was asking for that he was not up to taking responsibility for and some that he was not in a position to take responsibility for at this point in time in his life. He came to his own realization that what he was asking from his mother was not something that he was ready to have, take ownership of or be responsible for. He also recognized the steps he had to take before he was ready to take on responsibility for the whole of what he was asking for and he recognized what steps he had already taken to that end. All from two simple questions!

Two Simple Questions Is All It Takes

Running responsibility is one of my favourite parenting tools. I had come, over the years, to accept that part of having children was guilt. I even kept a bottle of guilt spray in a kitchen cupboard with my cleaning stuff so I could douse myself with it every once and a while, to lighten the guilt load. I knew that I was free of the Witches when shortly after the incident with her boyfriend the same daughter was getting downright nasty with me because I hadn't taken her to get her learner's license so she could start to drive. She was right, I hadn’t but I did not go into agreement with her viewpoint of my horrible neglect. Her dad was in the hospital, we were in the process of setting up a new household, and I had my hands full just keeping track of my own cycles let alone what she had on her plate. “What part of getting your learner’s license are you willing to be responsible for?” “What part of getting your learner’s license would you rather not be responsible for? Back and forth between those two questions until I got it all. Major change in attitude! It turned out that she wasn’t even ready to take the exam. I agreed that when she was ready to take it I would take responsibility for driving her to her exam. It was three months before she asked me again and this time she was ready, she had studied, I drove her down to the Department of Motor Vehicles, she wrote the exam and she passed. Until her level of responsibility came up to where she was actually ready to write the exam, there was really no point in going into agreement with the game she was running on me. She got that – I didn’t have to do a thing except ask two questions!

The last time I saw Witch Three she was off to see the wizard!


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    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      I am glad that you found me too! I'm looking forward to visiting "Granny's House".

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Wow, great hub. I will be back to read more. I am glad I found you.

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Certainly not the only two questions I asked, lol. Especially when they were in their teens! The questions assist them to process. There are certain questions that enable others to find their correct answers and there are certain questions that deter them or prevent them from doing so. These are only two of examples of such questions and they are effective because they help one to look at an area or a subject and determine what part of the whole area or subject they are ready or willing to be responsible for. It also enables them to recognize what next correct step they need to take if they want to take on more responsibility in the subject or area. Talking, listening and acknowledging - it's magic!

    • Shadesbreath profile image


      8 years ago from California

      Well, you have done some pretty amazing parenting just to have teenagers that are capable of processing logic in that kind of way. I can't say I have narrowed it down to two questions like that, but I think at least in large part, the talking to them thing really pays off. Calm exchange, listening to answers goes a long way. But your two questions definitely might help finish of a conversation that gets to the circular part. Imma try it and see.

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      I love stuff that works Malcolmb, especially when it's so simple - beautifully simple!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a superb hub. There is so much power in running responsibility to free up stuck games and clear out negative attitudes. Thank you for your clever insight!

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Thank You enlightenedsoul. Print as many as you like this world could use more enlightenedsouls!

      And suny51, you are right, the faster one can deal with the witches the better, the trick is to remember which witch you are working on! Thank You.

    • suny51 profile image


      8 years ago

      Yes these are real witches,get rid of them as fast as one can.

      true as day light is anti-witch.

    • englightenedsoul profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome hub.Excellent I must say.Have bookmarked it and may even take a printout of it for my mom!!!keep up the good work.


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