How do I teach my child to have a sense of urgency? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Margaret Weiss:
There is only one way, as far as I can tell, and that is to let the child fail at something big, so that the transition from the careless childhood to a more level-headed youth takes place.
It sounds almost insane, and I hope you will take my word with a grain of salt: if you’re asking about it for your child, and your child is not mentally/emotionally ready for the transition, then I hope you will be able to vary this experiment accordingly. (Basically, there’s no parenting school, and we all do our best as parents).
If you decide to go ahead with it, remain strong and keep this question (and the long-term implications in mind). You should pick something that, if failed or neglected, will have consequences but not too dire and definitely not lethal.
Let’s say you pick a chore of laundry. Your child will be responsible for laundry, hopefully with something at stake – some event to attend (with the needed clothing mixed in with the remainder of the laundry), or some delicate item (let’s say a dress) which requires some attention. Then, you put your child in charge of this, and however it is done – badly, or left too long in the washer (and moldy), or dryer set too high (wrinkled and almost crispy) – you just tell the family to wear it.
Yes, it will be something you need to stomach yourself, and chances are that you will get some weird looks, and your child is likely to be petrified, on several counts: you actually went ahead with the chore, and you actually went ahead with the outcomes. So, as the result, your child is likely to think twice before testing your resolve – a parent who can walk around in a bleach-sprinkled (and ruined) t-shirt should not be messed with; god only knows what else you can do!
Another, less embarrassing, but more pressing matter could be washing dishes – either by…