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Learning Responsibility


Photo by Teemu Paananen on Unsplash


Less responsibility and blame. These are words I hear frequently as a complaint about our children and young adults.  As I mentioned in last week’s blog, structure and consistency can bring about change and teach responsibility.  Sometimes this can be inconvenient and disruptive for parents, but it may be the only way to elicit behavioral change.  Other ways to create change are by fostering accountability, validation, and ownership.

Great businesses know that the only way to remain successful is to expect accountability from their employees. They provide training and support, conduct performance reviews, compensate good work, and provide coaching when improvement is required. Family life should be no different. Yet, parents often assume an all-or-nothing approach, either by micromanaging through over-protectiveness or providing no direction and then being intolerant of failure. Seek moderation in your style and approach. This paves the way for children to mature, gain self-confidence, and have an appreciation for the consequences of their actions.

  • Hold family meetings twice per month to review goals and objectives and discuss family issues that create conflict.

  • Provide constructive tools to achieve conflict resolution.

  • Teach your children how to save money so that they can make a special purchase and rely on their own resources to achieve a reward.

  • Take away privileges or objects for inappropriate behaviors to teach them that for every action there is a reaction. Be sure to take away something they value and choose an appropriate time-out location that has limited stimulation.

All emotions are good; the goal is to learn healthy and appropriate expression of them. We can’t protect our kids from the realities of life, but we can arm them with coping skills that will result in resiliency.

  • Allow your children to experience negative emotions, such as disappointment, sadness, hurt and anger.

  • Give them healthy ways to express and resolve their feelings instead of absorbing or squelching their emotions.

  • Validate their emotions through acknowledgment and acceptance even if you don’t totally understand why they may be experiencing these feelings.

We all have a desire to be involved in our children’s lives but sometimes take it too far. Too much involvement in our children’s lives can lead to less investment on their part for success.

  • Allow your children to come up with the idea for the science project and provide only direction and support.

  • Watch their self-confidence soar when they complete projects and homework on their own.

  • Let them know that their achievements are a result of their efforts. Internal confidence lasts forever!

  • Expect accountability, validate feelings, and encourage ownership.

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© 2019 by Colgrin