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Taking Responsibility rather than Taking Two to Tango - THE GENIUS IN CHILDREN

Taking Responsibility rather than Taking Two to Tango

by Rick on March 20, 2013

Take full responsibility

Taking Responsibility

Take full responsibility  (100%-0. Not 50-50.)  That’s what makes for a teachable moment and builds a strong character.


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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley March 21, 2013 at 6:35 am

How appropriate for me to be reading this this morning! I got a very disrespectful outburst from my daughter this morning and lost my cool. I told her that name calling one’s mother is not permitted in my family, and said it very ….”loudly”. She of course came back with a retort suggesting that her behaviour was acceptable given my infraction (accidently squirting her with washer fluid while she was outside the car). A couple of months back I was scraping the car windows and had told her NOT to squirt the washer fluid while I was doing that, and she did it anyway, which resulted in me giving her an earfull. So I guess she thought this occasion was payback. I kept my focus (albeit not my cool) and repeated again that it was unacceptable for children to call their parents’ names in my family. She did apologize and she left the car at school on good terms with her huffy mother.

It is so very hard to be clear thinking and reasonable in the moment sometimes. There is no third party in our case to dissect the behaviour so clearly, and as the mother, I’m constantly reflecting on “where did she learn that disgraceful behaviour” and examining my own behaviour, and how it affected the situation. I’m caught between embarassment that my child behaved this way, questioning whether I behave this way, and my role in trying to correct it. All before 9 in the morning!

I’ve read your book and the story of the three little girls and probably would be most like the first mother, who was sitting in your office the next morning at 7:30. When I read the stories of these parents, I saw it as a story of parental responsibility…what role do these parents think they play in the lives of their children? These days I also ask myself (as the situations get tougher) “What kind of parent do I want my grandchildren to have?”

Your teaching through story-telling is so helpful….

Rick March 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

Shirley, Thank you for YOUR stories, they are so poignant and so real. Getting creative with you anger is a nice idea, but really hard when you, well, get mad. Would a friendly conversation with her when you are both feeling love and in a good mood work? Make a plan for dealing with each other less madly?
sounds like you need to read this one: http://geniusinchildren.org/2010/07/28/dont-get-mad-get-creative/
or this one:
But then, of course, you do love each other madly, so how can you help it, right?

Shirley March 22, 2013 at 5:26 am

Thanks Rick…the day ended up very much better. She apologized again when I got to school to pick her up. And we did talk about the scenario again in quiet tones and with reasonable minds…

Another tactic, if I can call it that, that I find works but is not always easy to do, is to just wait. Wanting to solve a problem quickly is not always the best solution, for her or for me. But letting time and changing circumstances do their magic sometimes makes things much easier.

I’ll read your links..

Rick March 22, 2013 at 6:05 am

Yes. Waiting. We all need reminding of that. I keep forgetting that usually what I feel like saying is already in the air–actually in the head of other people, if it is in mine–and saying nothing give it a chance to come out–one way or another. If it is for me to say it–later is sometimes better.
Thanks, again.

Amy March 26, 2013 at 11:31 am

I appreciate reading this, Shirley. It is so difficult to remember when our children call us names or are showing their need at that moment for some kind of venting to not take it personally. I do think it is helpful and important to try to remember though in those moments, when they are being “disresepectful” that there is something going on for them emotionally and they are showing their need for us to move in close and love them and listen to them unconditionally. Some thing is up for them and we are the safest place for them to try to get a hand with it. Just having them stop being disrespectful and apologize does not actually address their hurting place. Patty Wipfler, of Hand in Hand Parenting, calls it “stay-listening”. Others might well call it parental abuse! But, I believe that young people will feel much more connected and respected, and therefore better able to treat others respectfully, if they are listened to, with love and playfulness, even in their ugliest moments. Of course, much easier said than done!

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