It never sounds very nice to say, “That was your fault” to somebody and as a society, we have really gotten away from allowing our children to accept blame for things. We’ve become overly-sensitive and overprotective, endeavoring to shield our children from anything which might be uncomfortable, unpleasant or painful. But in doing this, we are setting our children up for failure.
It is not pleasant to have to admit something was our fault or that we were wrong but when a child can stand up and truly accept responsibility for something, he has learned something very valuable. A child that says, “That was my fault” is also saying that he understands he is responsible for his own actions. He is saying that he knows he is not helpless. He is saying that he knows he can act, not just be acted upon. A child who accepts and understands that he is to blame for something is saying that he understands that he is a principle actor in his own life, in his own future. Not allowing your child this opportunity is robbing your child of the ability to take charge of his own life.
Children who are never allowed to take responsibility for their actions – both good and bad – grow up to be adults who feel constantly victimized by other people, by “circumstances” and by society in general. They are unable to see where they are making mistakes with their own actions and feel consistently let down by others and helpless to do anything to change their own lives. These people, quite frankly, are miserable. It’s very hard to change this perception in an adult, because telling them it’s ultimately in their own hands just feels like another attack. They really don’t understand that they aren’t helpless and they perceive any assertion of empowerment as blame.
It is always easier not to create a problem in the first place than it is to fix a problem later. Do your children a favor and let them take responsibility for their own actions, both good and bad. The adult they become will thank you for it. You are getting your children ready for the world outside your home and in the world outside our homes, we do not get endless chances to do the right thing. Children need to learn that.
One of the absolute best things you can do for you child is to teach them there are consequences for their behavior. People who do not learn that are often seriously handicapped as adults. It is very important to reiterate to your child that they are in charge of their own consequences. If they do not like the consequences they are ending up with, they need to change their behavior. This really cannot be said enough. Teaching them personal responsibility is one of the best things you could possibly do for them. When a child can take ownership of his or her own behavior, they realize that they are not helpless. This is empowerment, not blame and it’s very important.