• Below and attached are some articles from a variety of sources that can be good reminders for us parents.

    Teaching Responsibility

    In order to raise a responsible kid, there's pain involved.  It's important to keep your eye on the future in thinking about what kind of an adult do you want him to be.

    As long as they live under your roof, you have some level of leverage.  For example, with the problem of keeping his room clean.  The parent has two choices.   The first choice is for his messy room to be his problem in which he has to keep the door closed and bring down sheets and laundry.  The second choice is for it to be your problem and then you need to put parameters on it to reinforce behavior:  "Feel free to go out Saturday night if your room is clean by noon." 

    Give two choices that are both acceptable and enforceable.

    Dealing with Problem Behavior

    If you want to see a change in behavior, "pain has to go to the heart".  When you show empathy to the child about the situation they are in, that doesn't give the child something to fight with you about.  When the parent shows anger, the child closes her heart and the anger focuses on the adult.  When the parent uses empathy, it allows the child to open the heart and focus on her feelings and the situation she is in.  When you open with empathy, you have the opportunity for a win-win situation.  Empathy is really listening to the child discuss what happened and acknowledging their feelings ("Sounds like...?"; "That must be scary."; "Bet you're frustrated?"; "Mad, huh?")

    Often when you recognize what they are feeling, their body relaxes.  If you are wrong with their feelings, they will often correct.  If they say that you don't know what they are feeling.  You can respond, "You are right.  I don't know how you are feeling.  That's how I probably would feel in that situation."

    By using logical consequences as well as listening to the child about how she plans to solve the problem, you provide the child with opportunity to learn from the situation by allowing them to own the problem and validation that they are capable of problem solving ("What do you want to do about this?").

    So when there is a problem, allow the child the opportunity to own and solve the problem.  Ask the child what needs to be done.  If necessary, lead child in the direction of thinking about all the ramifications and offer choices for restitution.

    So if they:                                             They need to:

    make a mess                                           clean the mess up

    damage property, steal                              make restitution

    insult, speak rudely                                   apologize

    are in conflict                                           resolve it

    take parental energy (time, action, $)           pay back energy

    It's important for all family members to contribute to the family.  When a child takes energy from the family, it is important for them to contribute back to the family to get the benefits of being in the family.

    Talking points:

    "What do you think needs to be done?"

    "No ideas?  Would you like some ideas?"  If they say "no", say, "Well, let's think about it until Tuesday.  If you don't have any ideas, "let's go with mine."

    Ideas:  money, clean garage on Saturday, all laundry for a week

    "Feel free to ask for the _______ once this has been taken care of."