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Growing up as a little child, you had your parent covering up for your little mistakes, or fighting anyone that threatened the perfect image they have of their child. I remember how my father came down hard on anyone that threatened my peace. This is good, however, parents, in their zeal to protect their young, swoop down heavily like a mother hen on any person or agency who might hold their children accountable for their actions. Armed with verbal smart bombs, they are quick to blast away at anyone who sets high standards for behavior, morality, or achievement.

This constitutes why parents see nothing wrong in going to their child/ward’s school to “deal” with the teachers. It is by far horrible to watch children learn how to blame others for their lack of success instead of learning how to be successful.

To be accountable means to be held responsible for one’s actions and decisions. Children at a tender age should learn how to own up to their choices and not pass the buck to others because if they do not learn proper values and behaviour when they are young, it can lead to problems when they finally become adults.

Here are steps to take to promote accountability in your child:

  • Have a no excuses policy:
With the level of experience beneath my belt as a children’s’ department teacher, I have witnessed firsthand children’s wonderful imaginations when creating excuses: “He pushed me first and so I pushed my own back.” Your child needs to take responsibility of his actions, returning the favour may not always be the right answer.
  • Be emphatic and calm:
Most parents are fond of accusing everyone around of any fate that befalls their child. Don’t respond in anger if you hope to teach accountability, express understanding when dealing with an issue. It is not all things that the rod builds. Children as a matter of fact, understand us, they just want someone who would hear them out.
  • Expect children to admit and apologize:
When your child does something wrong, teach them to admit the fact and apologize, rather than sweeping the matter under the carpet. Many parents refuse to allow their children apologize for any wrongdoing because they are careful of the image they are known to project in the society. This in turn, makes the child to assume that such actions are justifiable. I know it is hard for a mother to allow her beloved son admit he stole a particular amount of money, or a friend’s favorite toy, but doing so builds character.
  • Engage them in making resolutions:
I was impressed when I noticed a young boy saving up his pocket money to repair his friend’s motorcycle he had unknowingly damaged while riding. The young boy explained that after he had admitted to his parents and friend, his mother insisted he repaired the parts that he damaged all by himself. The parents had at that time, upon further findings, paid for the repairs without his knowledge, and yet they kept encouraging him to save. I wonder what happened at the end of the day, but this teaches the lessons of allowing your children make resolutions when they have done anything wrong.

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This article was first published on 12th January 2018


Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

Comments (1)

One thought on “Tricks to Teaching Your Child to Be Accountable”

  • I agree with you and as a matter of fact, trying to do everything possible not to “allow your children go through what you went through” makes them not have the kind of experience and wisdom that you have. Most of the things you learnt in life were taught you by experience and as a result, you became better in your reasoning, approach and attitude. Lets teach them by doing it because they learn from what we do and not really what we say.

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