How to Foster Responsibility in your Kids

In our fast-paced world of technology and a generation of young people who place great weight on the importance of material possessions, children can be quick to refute fault when the going gets tough. If your child wants to blame the dog for eating her homework or the superhero’s for the dirt tracked onto the kitchen floor, a lesson in accountability and responsibility may be in order. Here are some ideas to foster accountability in your kids and help them learn that making mistakes is part of our life’s journey:

  1. Lead by Example. What do you do when you make a mistake? Be sure to follow up with an apology or be able to laugh at yourself if you spill the milk. Most kids want to please their parents and blame to avoid potential negative consequences.
  2. Reward for Honesty. Kids enjoy being in the know so why not set them up for success and reward honesty? When your child admits they took that last cookie or didn’t turn in the paper, make sure there is a consequence, but administer the punishment without shame.
  3. Track Progress. Keeping a chart on the fridge for the family to see is a wonderful way to reinforce positive behavior and accountability. Whether you choose gold stars or colorful stickers, seeing how genuine honesty can be motivation for more good behavior.
  4. Allow Mistakes. Don’t take it personally when your child isn’t honest about a misstep — they just want to please you and don’t intend to disrespect or fib. By being gentle with your response, you will encourage open communication that will come in handy some day when they drive the family car without asking.

When it comes to playing the blame game, we can teach our kids to opt out and take responsibility for their actions. Kids at a young age learn from watching their parents, so make a point of being accountable for your actions, apologizing if you make a mistake and teaching our children to own up to things, even when they don’t go as planned. In doing so you will raise children who will grow into responsible adults will know that to err is human but to be accountable is divine.