Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Teach Your Child or Teen to Stop Making Excuses and Start Taking Responsibility for their Behavior

From EmpoweringParents:
Sit down with your child and point out that whatever it is you’re doing now isn’t working any more. Gauge your remarks based upon the age and developmental level of your child. The younger the child, the more simplistic the conversation has to be. In any case, the conversation should be brief and to the point. I can’t stress enough the importance of not making a lot of justifications or giving in to emotionalism. Don’t say, “I’m sorry we let you down.” A simple, “This isn’t helping you,” is fine. Explanations longer than that invite arguments which we like to avoid when we can.

This is your chance to make a fresh start. You can say, “Our relationship with the school hasn’t really been working, and how we’ve been handling things hasn’t been working.  We don’t think it’s giving you what you really need. So from now on, when you don’t do your homework, this is how we’re going to handle it. If you’re abusive with our neighbors or friends or schoolmates, this is how we’ll handle it.” Spell out what will happen if they don’t follow the rules: “From now on, if you don’t do your homework, you won’t be allowed to watch TV until it’s done. If we see you abusing people, you won’t be allowed to play your video games for the rest of the day.” The best method is to have a short conversation, and then say, “I have something else I have to do now,” and go do it. Don’t make it a long, drawn-out affair.

Later on, follow through on the consequences you’ve laid out. You should expect a response that includes a wide range of acting out behavior, from verbal abuse to threats of non-performance, to sullen silence. Nonetheless, if you stick with this, in the long run, you’re doing your child a big favor. Accountability for basic responsibility creates change. ... Full text

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