In this article I want to speak on the topic of responsibility as it relates to our responsibility for as well as to our children.
The degree of responsibility we have towards another person depends on the relationship we have with that individual and what that particular kind of relationship calls for.
Parenting is one of the rare instances when it is necessary to take responsibility for another human being. When we bring a baby into our lives, we are responsible for that infant's every physical & emotional need in the beginning. AND we take less and less responsibility for them as they grow and develop.
It is important to remember that we are responsible for our children only for a limited time. Only until that child is capable of assuming responsibility for themselves do we take responsibility for them! (And, in most cases, that's of a shorter duration than most of us, as parents, think!)
Our job as parents is to take every opportunity to teach them how to assume more responsibility for themselves in keeping with their level of ability and understanding.
The ancient understanding is that a parents moral responsibility ends when the child is 14 years old. By that age a child already has in place his or her basic concepts of what the world is like and their place in it. Then they have arrived at the age where they are "trying out" their ideas separate from the parents.
By the age of 14, a child has begun the individuation process, nature's way of moving the child towards more independence from his or her parents. It's a natural process and is the way both humans & animals evolve from a state of utter dependency to one of autonomy & self responsibility.
We interrupt the natural progression of the individuation process when we continue to assume responsibility for our children past the time when they can assume that responsibility for themselves.
We must come into a trusting relationship with the Universe rather than acting out of a compulsive need to protect our loved ones from it if we are going to successfully move from being responsible for to being responsible to those we love.