Advertisement

How can I help my kids take responsibility for their behavior?

Lynne Kenney
Psychology
Talk with your children about what taking responsibility for their behavior means. It means they acknowledge they had a choice and they are accountable for their choice. No one else made them exhibit a behavior – they chose to use that word or action on their own. Remember the rule of respect? Taking responsibility often means showing respect – to your parents, your siblings, your teacher or the family cat. Help your child make this connection, so that they understand how their behaviors are part of a larger family ethos.

Some families who have been more reactive than proactive engage in “the blame game.” Your family members may be used to blaming other people for their own choices. It’s an unconscious habit that is easy to get into. We all do it sometimes, but kids will learn to do it from us if we’re not careful.

For many families, taking personal responsibility for behavior is a new concept. Practice sentences that model taking responsibility for your behavior. Ask your children to name behaviors that they often blame on others and ask them to make a statement of responsibility.

 
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

First of all, you want to talk with your kids about what taking responsibility for their behavior means. 

It means they acknowledge they had a choice and they are accountable for their choice. No one else made them exhibit a behavior – they chose to use that word or action on their own. Remember the rule of respect? Taking responsibility often means showing respect – to your parents, your siblings, your teacher or the family cat. Help your kids make this connection, so that they understand how their behaviors are part of a larger family ethos.

Some families who have been more reactive than proactive engage in “the blame game.” Your family members may be used to blaming other people for their own choices. It’s an unconscious habit that is easy to get into. We all do it sometimes, but kids will learn from us if we’re not careful.

For many families, taking personal responsibility for behavior is a new concept. Practice sentences that model taking responsibility for your behavior. Ask your children to name behaviors that they often blame on others and ask them to make a statement of responsibility.

Continue Learning about Parenting

How to Stop the Spread of Bullying
How to Stop the Spread of Bullying
In 1906 in order to sell his Square Deal, Republican president Teddy Roosevelt used what was called his Bully Pulpit to convince folks that projects l...
Read More
How does unschooling differ from homeschooling?
Michele BorbaMichele Borba
Unschooling is not the same as homeschooling -- it’s really a subset of the homeschooling moveme...
More Answers
Embarrassing Questions You Wish Your Kids Wouldn’t Ask
Embarrassing Questions You Wish Your Kids Wouldn’t AskEmbarrassing Questions You Wish Your Kids Wouldn’t AskEmbarrassing Questions You Wish Your Kids Wouldn’t AskEmbarrassing Questions You Wish Your Kids Wouldn’t Ask
Every parent is going to face an embarrassing question they’re not quite ready for. Check out these questions you might hear and smart ways to answer ...
Start Slideshow
What Factors Can Make It Difficult to Spend Quality Time with My Child?
What Factors Can Make It Difficult to Spend Quality Time with My Child?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.