An easy solution for getting and keeping your children on track is to teach them responsibility and accountability. Being responsible in life and accountable for their decisions and actions can help them develop good behavior to use throughout their entire lives.

Many parents deal with a child who talks back, curses, procrastinates or refuses to do what they are asked to do. Often times, the parents are overwhelmed knowing that their child’s behavior must change, but are too tired and unsure of how to make that happen. This typically results as inaction by the parent, and provides an environment where the bad behavior festers and grows.

responsibility and accountabilityInappropriate behaviors often stem from parental inattention when their child wants to be heard or seen. In many incidences, the child is struggling with their self-esteem. Their lack of self-worth can cause them to act out in the most inappropriate ways. But exactly how can a parent teach responsibility and accountability so the child will develop good behaviors and leave inappropriate conduct behind?

Choose a Behavior

Parenting coaches teach moms and dads effective solutions to change a child’s conduct to behavior that is more appropriate. When the task seems overwhelming, it is better to choose a single behavior and focus on just one issue instead of the entire problem. Typically it is best to prioritize the problems and choose one that might pose a safety risk or health issue if not addressed immediately.

Once an inappropriate behavior is selected, it is essential to define the problem specifically. Instead of describing the issue in general terms like “you keep a messy room,” be more specific. Making a statement like “I see all of your dirty clothes, used cups and dishes, toys and books all over your bedroom floor” defines the problem. After the issue is clearly stated, the parent should follow up with a logical reason – “wouldn’t it be easier to find your things if your room was kept tidy?”– to involve the child in the process of changing habits and behaviors.

Make a Goal

For the parent, a goal is never just a wish for something to change. Instead, the goal to change behavior is a commitment and agreement between the parents and child. The goal must also be specific. Avoid a goal like “I will do better.” Instead be specific like “I will place the trash from my room in the trashcan on Sunday and Thursday nights.”

If the objectives set by the parents and the child are realistic, each goal has the potential of being accomplished. Creating an action plan and writing it down as an agreement teaches children how to be responsible. The child can learn accountability if given consequences such as praise for accomplishing a goal or taking away a privilege for not changing their unacceptable behavior.

Part of the process of teaching children responsibility and accountability often requires a behavioral change in the parents by spending more time with their child. Focusing attention on your child, listening to their reasoning and logic, and providing consequences can be a winning strategy for success. It is essential that parents recognize that even a small victory can quickly make a big positive change.

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