For some reason, many children seem to be growing up thinking that they are not responsible for their actions and that there will be no consequences for their choices. It could be the modern media, video games and cartoons where the main character has nine lives, or even popular Hollywood figures that helps them to believe this lie. No matter who or what it is that seems to be spreading the idea that there is no accountability for our choices, it's up to us as parents and teachers to stop it.
As an adult, you are accountable for your own actions. Whether it's cleaning up your mess, apologizing for a mistake or taking care of your belongings, it's important to show that you are accountable. In addition to being accountable for your actions, it is important to teach your child to be accountable as well. By starting early, you can teach your child to take responsibility, so he makes better decisions as he becomes older.
Family meetings are a great way to teach children and teens alike between right and wrong. Sometimes it's hard to come up with ideas on how to teach children in the most effective way. Here are some simple ideas on how to teach your children "the consequences of making a choice."
ü Give your child responsibilities. Provide them with things to be accountable, whether it's taking care of their belongings or certain chores around the house. Whatever responsibility you give your child, make sure it is age appropriate. A toddler can be made responsible for putting his toys blocks away when he is finished playing. A grade-school child can carry his own lunch money to school or make his bed in the morning.
ü Establish rules in your home. Make it clear to your child that not following your rules will lead to consequences. For example, you can say, "I will not tolerate any pushing or shoving in this house. It doesn't matter if your brother started the argument, it still isn't right to hit him. If you hit him again, you will be punished."
ü Follow through with a punishment if your child doesn't follow your rules. If you don't enforce your rules, your child won't think he has to be accountable for his actions. For example, if he continues to receive bad grades on his report card, do not allow him to go out with his friends until he improves his grades. Your child will recognize that he can't just do what he wants, and there are consequences for his actions.
ü Model good behavior. If you don't hold yourself accountable for your actions, you can't expect your child to be accountable. When you make a mistake, apologize and don't blame your mistake on someone else. If you told your child you would take her to the park on Saturday, don't make other plans. By leading by example, your child will likely adopt those good habits.