The surprising secrets to raising a kid that takes responsibility

“I didn’t do it! It was him!” or “It wasn’t me! It was her!” How many times have you heard your kid say this and try to exonerate himself from the situation, despite your knowing who is at fault? And the most surprising thing about such a situation is that no matter how much you try to reason with your kids, they are a hard nut to crack, who never admit that it was their mistake. This, according to Kate Roberts (PhD in Psychology), is because kids fail to understand that everybody makes mistakes and for them, blaming someone else is just another way to avoid negative consequences and disapproval. But if this is becoming a habit and getting out of hand, it’s time to keep a check on your child. Because what’s even worse is that it makes your kid conveniently irresponsible.

Begin by asking them the right questions

Most parents create a barrier when they ask their kids a ‘why’ after they have made a mistake and children generally have irrelevant answers for that question. Simplify the situation by asking them direct questions like, “What did you do,” followed by “What happened after that,” and ended with “What will you do.” These will not only bring out the desired answers but more importantly, will help kids comprehend and verbalise what effect their actions had and how will they rectify a problematic situation.

Be more approachable

Philips Dembo (PhD) in his book, ‘The Real Purpose of Parenting’ states,”If you want your kid to come to you with the truth, then learn to keep your cool while expressing your dissatisfaction over his/her unsatisfactory behaviour.” As parents, you can assure your kid that it is okay to make mistakes but it is equally important to learn from them and try to fix the damage. You can also discuss other ways in which the same situation could have been handled and the effects it would produce. If your kid has been courageous enough to be honest with you, it has to be appreciated and acknowledged for motivating him/her for the same in future.

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Exhibit tough love

Please don’t let your child’s sweet, pleading face deter you from letting him go through the required consequence. Your kid should not harbour thoughts that you let him get away for what is done after he has admitted to it but has to learn to accept the consequences of his actions. Consistency of consequences is a must. To instil the desired lesson and by keeping a progress chart you can help your kid measure his own success and be encouraged towards improvement.

Encourage kids to try new things

If they won’t try they won’t know that what they tried was right or wrong. And unless they won’t fall and make mistakes how will they learn? So instead of always cocooning your kids it might just be a good idea to let them step out and face up to a few things on their own by making their own decisions. It is a distinct possibility that they will turn to only you for help, support and guidance and you know what to do.

Show your cooler side to your kid

Kids look up to their parents and constantly try to emulate them by trying to cover up mistakes. Showing your human side to them and talking about some of your errors lets them know that mistakes happen all the time and anybody can make them. But make sure also to share with them what lesson you learnt and how you redeemed yourself. This will provide them a safe haven for admitting their follies and look forward in life.

Click here to know how to help your child stay kind and yet not be a pushover.

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