Parenting Tip: Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen – March 2018

Every parent dreams of their children growing up to be respectful and responsible citizens who contribute to the good of society. How do we, as parents, ensure this happens?

According to Beverly Anderson, executive director for Ebenezer Child Care Centers with locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and West Allis/Wauwatosa, “Just as children are taught to read and learn basic skills such as dressing themselves, they must also be taught character traits like honesty, responsibility and respect for oneself and others.”

So how can you go about teaching your children these things? Here are some tips:

Be a Positive Role Model
As a parent, you must remember that your children are always watching you. If children do not learn proper values and behaviors when they are very young, problems can develop.

Anderson says if children hear you lying or not taking responsibility for your actions, they will think these behaviors are acceptable. Likewise, if they do not learn from early on that it is important to be kind and help others, they will not exhibit these behaviors.


“It is critical to remember that everything you do as a parent is under the watchful eyes of your children,” states Anderson. “Modeling responsible behaviors is so important to raising responsible citizen.”


Set High Expectations and Be Clear and Consistent With Them

Anderson adds that it’s important for you, as a parent, to remember that as your children grow, they will test the limits from time to time. This is why you need to establish clearly defined expectations and make sure you are being consistent with them.


“Children need to learn early on from their parents that their actions have consequences and negative or disrespectful behaviors will not be permitted. Keep in mind it is better for children to learn from their mistakes when they are young and the consequences aren’t as great.”


Anderson recommends that you keep your expectations simple, such as “treat others as you want to be treated” and avoid coming up a complicated set of rules. She also encourages you to keep your instructions positive saying “be kind to each other” instead of “stop picking on each other.”

Anderson suggests that you remind your children of your expectations frequently, especially before going to events where other children will be present and may have different expectations set for them.

Utilize Books and Character Programs to Reinforce Positive Behaviors

Anderson recommends utilizing character programs such as the Virtues Project ( as well as children’s books to help teach your children about the types of positive behaviors society expects.

“At our child care centers, we pick two virtues every month to focus on and incorporate into our programming and daily interactions. It helps our teachers create safe, caring and high performing early education environments where children can thrive.”

Anderson adds that that are plenty of children’s books that teach lessons. “Books such as Franklin Fibs, which talks about how Franklin finds himself in an embarrassing predicament after telling a lie, can help parents explain the importance of being honest and the consequences of what happens when you aren’t.”

Ebenezer Child Care Centers is a not-for-profit, locally based agency committed to providing early childhood programs from the heart. The agency prides itself on being different from other child care providers in that it offers a home-like atmosphere; individualized, nurturing care; and a structured curriculum that is virtues-based for every child’s developmental stage.

Every Ebenezer Child Care Center focuses on all aspects of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, emotional, and social. In addition to providing quality care, the agency also offers free Parenting Talks and other educational programming all aimed at helping parents.

The agency has locations in downtown Milwaukee, on Milwaukee’s southside, and in Oak Creek and West Allis/Wauwatosa. The agency’s main office is located at 1496 South 29th Street, Milwaukee. For more information, please call 414-643-5070