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accepting responsibility for actions

Posted by mom2emall (My Page) on
Sat, Dec 1, 07 at 1:49

How do you get a 9 year old boy to accept responsibility for his actions? My son always tries to deny that things are his fault, at home and school. I am at my witts end with it! HELP!!!!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

ALOT of kids do this. Mine used to all the time until I told her what she is doing is basicly lying.And that we dont lie to each other ever.
I also told her that no matter how bad,she shouldnt deny anything,make excuses or lie because she thinks she will get into trouble.I told her I will always hear her out and not raise my voice or jump to conclusions so long as she is always honest with me.
I told her I will always try to help her out if I can.

Or,I call her out on it if it's something I know about.
For instance:
"DD why is there paper all over your floor?"

DD says,"So and so did it,not me!"

I'll say,"DD,that is BS because so and so was only here for a minute and I saw you do it,now pick it up"

I think it's most kids natural reaction to deny because they dont want to get into trouble.I think it helps to let them know it is "morally" wrong.
Now my DD tells on herself,and since I'm happy she tells me,I remain calm (about whatever it is) and thank her for her honesty.

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

How do you get a 9 year old to accept responsibility for his actions?
The answer is you teach him....and mainly by example. It's the old "you made your bed now lie in it" routine.
You don't do your homework, then you can't have friends over or go anywhere for 3 days.
You get A's in your classes, then you get all sorts of praise and perhaps an additional freedom that comes with being a responsible kid.
Remind him that there are consequences for every action, you eat too many green apples you get a stomach ache, you practice throwing the basketball through the hoop and you get chosen for the team.
Linda C

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

Those are good points made by p.g. and linda.

You don't take responsibility for him. Whatever the consequence, he must be made to face it on his own. Don't fix it for him. Don't listen to his argument or excuse. Just tell him straight out, "You caused this by ______ (whatever the action) and this is what will happen." Then he loses some trust, and therefore priveleges, as a result. They have to be earned back.

I don't know exactly what he's done. So there might be a different approach based on what is happening. Is he breaking rules then denying responsibility? Or is he not studying for a test, failing, and blaming the teacher? If it's the grades, maybe he needs more direction on how to study and he needs his homework checked every night. If it's behavior, he needs to face the consequences/punishment with no excuses. He will learn that you won't discuss it with him when you all know the truth. If he's "spinning" the truth, tell him you won't listen to it anymore and walk away.

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

Depending on how bad his problem is, and what his personality is, I think you need to listen to what he has to say. I think it is very important to hear a kid out. Sometimes kids really don't understand that they are creating or are part of the problem. In some instances they really don't even think they are lying and think they are right (just as adults do when they are in a disagreement).

I just had to referee two kids in my son's class and they both thought their fight was the other kid's fault... and, you know what, they were both right. It was really hard even for me to draw the lines as to who was at fault. There isn't always a clear case "fault" so just keep that in mind. Obviously, you don't want to be catering to your kid, but hear him out and discuss with him why his reasoning may be wrong, and what he may have done to contribute to the problem at hand. This is how they learn. Say his friend threw a ball to him and he tripped over a vase and broke it... he may really think his friend is at fault for throwing the ball there (after he told him not to) and 'making' him break the vase.. or he may even try to blame dad for moving the vase to that new place just last night and not telling him... Go over what happened with him and make him see that he is still at fault and he needs to take responsiblity. Kids that age are still too young to fully understand all the logistics behind everything they do.

I often find that at the root of many of these cases where kids don't want to take responsibity is that they think that if their intent was good (or at least not bad) they shouldn't have to suffer consequences. Explain to him that intent does matter, but often even good intentions can create problems and that you still need to take responsiblity for creating problems even if you didn't "intend" to do something wrong. They may not have really done anything wrong (and I'm not sure punishment is always in order).. but if they broke the cup in the store, they may still have to pay for it regardless.

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

Not taking respondsibility is a form of lying. In my house the punishment is twice as hard if my kids lie. My kids have always known this rule and they rarely lie. Explain to your son that not being honest is lying. Let you son know that he has to face the consequences. Explain that his punishment will be greater if he lies. Tell him that he will lose 2 days of TV for whatever he did. But he will also lose 3 more days for lying too. I always make the lying punishment harder. We do not put up with lying in our house.

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

NEVER punish for lying unless you are CERTAIN that the child did, in fact, lie. You will be creating more problems than you are solving.

RE: accepting responsibility for actions

In my house the children knew that they would not get into trouble if they tell the truth. If they broke something, and were truthful about it, then there would be no punishment.

If I had to punish, I would use the "withdrawl of privileges" deal.

I don't like putting labels on children, like saying "you are a lier", or "you are naughty". I think its always better to say the BEHAVIOUR was .....naughty, rude, etc.

Why do you think your son lies ?

Perhaps the consequences are horrible, or at least he thinks they are.

Perhaps you could think of ways to change your behaviour to help him be truthful.

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