“They are reaching the age when they need to be accountable for their actions.” She was speaking of children ages 8 to 13 years of age. I was appalled.
You begin teaching your children accountability much younger than that. If they don’t know by the time they are five or six that every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment, you’ve not been doing your parental job.
I’m not advocating child abuse here, but the constant application of discipline and rules. We do not throw our clothes on the floor. They go on a hanger, in a drawer or in the dirty clothes hamper. Any two-year-old can learn this. You start by doing this with them. And the normal two-year-old will accept your help for a few minutes before you hear the refrain “I can do it myself!”
That’s the ethic you want to tap into. The “I can do it myself” independence ethic. Just remember to leave enough time for someone who is not yet adept to accomplish the task.
Once children learn that there is a consequence (either positive or negative) to every action and behavior, they generally choose to behave in a way that brings the most positive consequences.
My grandmother used to say “children live either up or down to your expectations.” If you expect the best and let the child know it, he will generally come through.