Every child, even at their best of times, has moments where they need to be held accountable. It is our tendency as humans to get away with what we can, and children are not exempt from this. In fact, it can be argued that it is a sign of normalcy and health when a child pushes limits and creatively tries to get away with something.
As parents, it is our joy and responsibility to guide our children in learning how to care for themselves, for others, and for the world around them. At times we need to help them refocus and rebalance. We can be both a great encouragement to our children and an example to follow. How do you know if you are balanced as a parent and holding your kids accountable?
Children May Push Back on the Rules
If you never held your children accountable, they would never have anything to push back against. Having a child upset about you saying “no” is a normal part of parenting and is a good indication that you are doing your job. Discussions and interactions needn’t always be negative, but sometimes holding kids accountable means they are irritated with us.
We Receive Small Amounts of Feedback
Don’t expect your child to constantly discuss things you talk about regarding accountability, but keep your ears open for those little tidbits. Your child may say a few words that sound a lot like something you’ve told them, or they may repeat a familiar principle that has been mentioned. These can be little reminders to you that what you are teaching your child is being heard, and is having an effect on them.
We Are Being Inconvenienced
That’s right – one sure way to know you are holding your kids accountable is when you find yourself at times being inconvenienced. If consequences were easy for parents to follow through, many more would. Too many times we state a consequence and then don’t enforce it.
Maybe we said that television was off limits but we need our kids to be easily entertained for half an hour and so we let it slide. Maybe we said that bedtime was at eight o’clock but we were too tired to get up from the couch and start the bedtime routine. If we are never inconvenienced, it is likely that our kids are getting away with more than what is good for them.
Our Children are Growing Emotionally
Bringing accountability into a person’s life, whether it is an adult or a child, most often brings contentment. When you are sliding through the rules, a feeling of uncertainty pervades. If you are holding your children accountable, they will more likely have a feeling of peace and security that goes beyond any temporary conflict.
You are Modelling and Not Just Teaching It
If we want our children to be accountable to ourselves or others, we must be the first ones who are accountable. Being a good role model means doing whatever is necessary to show our children what it means to set guidelines for oneself. This involves sticking to it even when things get tough, and teaches our children more than any words ever could.
Holding your kids accountable is a great life lesson, good for both student and teacher. When you raise children to be accountable, the whole world will benefit from it. Decide today whether you are actually holding your kids accountable, and take the steps to ensure you continue to enrich their life and that of everyone around them.