Don’t worry about it Dad, it’s my fault

Many of you know that I have two sons. The oldest (Ryan) turns 15 next week – soon to be getting his driver’s permit – ugh. My youngest (Brent) is 12 (and one-half…he reminds me).

As a parenting educator, people often assume that things go swimmingly at my house each and every day. Believe me – we have our moments of back talk and not listening like everyone else.

Brent, like a lot of kids his age, has often been reluctant to accept responsibility for things that didn’t go as he hoped. For instance, if his soccer team lost on a “bad call”, it was the referee’s fault. If he missed the catch while playing football with his brother, it was a bad pass. If he didn’t have clean soccer clothes ready for practice, it was my fault.

My husband and I would use these situations to try and teach him the importance of accountability. I think he understood in theory but in subsequent situations, it was still the referee, his brother or me that he blamed.

This week while I was out of town, Brent mentioned to my husband that he needed a novel from the bookstore for English class because it was due the next day. Having the book on time counted for a quiz grade and if he didn’t have it – he would have “earned” a zero.

Before Dave could get even react to this news, Brent continued with… “Dad, I’ve known about this for a week and forgot to mention it so if you don’t have time to get it, don’t worry about it. It’s my fault.”

Let me repeat that. He said, “It’s my fault”. WOW.

Ahhh…music to Dad’s ears. This was truly a breakthrough.

Now, before I start pounding my chest and share all the great parenting strategies we’ve used to get him to take responsibility and not blame others, I think we’d all agree that maturity has something to do with this milestone. I do think (and hope) our teaching of accountability had something to do with it as well. The best tool from the Positive Parenting Solutions Online Tool Box to teach accountability in your children is Natural Consequences.

Natural Consequences, which are covered in Session 3 of the online course will teach you how to foster personal accountability in your kids as they experience the “Natural Consequences” of their choices. It requires courage and consistency on your part – but it does work! You may not see a dramatic shift in personal accountability the very first time you allow a Natural Consequence to play out – but with time, they DO “get it!”

If you’re wondering if Dave drove to the mall to get the book – yes, he did! While we work to be consistent in allowing the kids to experience Natural Consequences, this breakthrough in accountability deserved to be recognized and I suspect Dave had a smile on his face all the way to the book store!

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About the Author

Amy McCready
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.