Defining Responsibility When Everyone Else is to Blame

Most children will automatically blame someone else when they do something wrong and get caught. This is because they have learned that if they tell the truth, they are just as likely to get the same punishment as if they lied-and if they lie at least they have a chance of not getting caught. Part of a parent's job is to define responsibility to children and teach them that telling the truth is always much easier.

When children-or anyone else for that matter-starts to lie, the lie usually grows and gets out of control. It's hard to remember every lie and keep them straight and then before you know it you're busted. Start to notice how fast your child is to blame someone else for their troubles.

Blaming someone else teaches kids that they are victims, too. Saying that it's the teacher's fault that they got a bad grade or that no one was listening to them is a very bad start to building teen self esteem, which they will need to succeed in life.

If you have punished your child in the past when they do take responsibility for their actions just as harshly or quickly when they don't, that's an example of bad parenting-harsh, isn't it? But it's true. If you over react and get angry as the response no matter what they do, then why bother telling you the truth at all?

You are also rejecting them. You are discounting their feelings and teaching them to see responsibility with a bad attitude. You need to learn how to be peaceful and relaxed your self before you can be a good example for your children. You can start by talking to them when they do well before they do something not so good. If they learn they can trust you with everything, then they can trust you not to over react when something goes wrong. You can also learn to pick your battles. If every move your child makes is scrutinized for bad behavior or imperfections, they will learn they cannot trust you. If you want to be able to define responsibility for your children, you must first show them how to take responsibility. Let them see you admit you are wrong when you make mistakes. Thinking that they will never live up to the parent's standards will hurt the self esteem you are trying to install.


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