Tag: Behavior

Accountability

“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.

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Watch Carefully

America’s future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.
~~ Jane Addams
Teaching is a fine art that requires multiple years in advanced training to do successfully. At least that is what the educational establishment would have you think. Teachers are encouraged to study and take more classes and acquire advanced degrees. All of which can give you information, but which cannot teach you the fine art of teaching.
Jane Addams quote gives us the answer in the last part. “Watch what we teach and how we live.”
The “how we live” part of this is the most essential. Our children watch what we do and imitate us. They take on our characteristics simply by observation and imitation.
If you want your child to be industrious, let him see you working and encourage him to help you along.
If you want your child to be sympathetic to others, let him see you as you empathize with others.
My sainted grandmother used to say “Your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying.”
Our best teaching is done by modeling the behavior we wish to instill in our children.