Girl with ears closedJennifer had a fight with Kristie in school today.

Now Laura, her favorite staff person, is approaching her to talk about it.

“I hate this school!” Jennifer screams. “The teachers don’t even know how to teach! I want to get out of this place and go to a real school!”



Laura shakes her head:

Jennifer has to learn to take responsibility for her actions.

What does this mean?

Admit to and discuss their mistakes and negative behaviors.

Although actually our kids don’t take much responsibility for the positive things they do either.

I’m in favor of taking responsibility for ones’ actions. It is part of working through mistakes that one makes.

Yet this phrase usually seems to be associated with a punitive response in which we tell the children what they did wrong and they admit it.

Why do we imagine that kids deny what they did, blame others, claim extenuating circumstances?

Is it actually because they do not know what they have done?

Or is it because they are so ashamed, and feel so hopeless about their behavior that they can not bear to face it?
Maybe denial is the only mechanism they know. Certainly they have not learned that one can make a mistake and then work it out- which is a very important skill in life. In the past mistakes may have led to abuse. In fact, in many cases physical abuse came randomly and it was in fact difficult to figure out which mistake had caused it- but the child is sure that they must have done something wrong.

We can help our children learn that what they do does impact others, both positively and negatively.

Through creating strong relationships we can help them learn to care whether they affect others.

And we can teach them what we all practice every day- that you can make a mistake, the world doesn’t end, your relationships don’t end, and you can do something to make it better.

Down load a training role play and start a conversation with your team about taking responsibility.

Training role play for your team


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