Helping Children Admit Mistakes and Take Responsibility

“It wasn’t me!!!!” As a parent, you probably have heard those words many times from your children. Accountability seems too often to be a bit of a lost art. A recent conversation at a social event centered on many of the participants agreeing that we live in a world where people don’t admit their mistakes and are more likely to place blame for errors on someone else.
How can we help our children learn that it’s important to take personal responsibility for mistakes? First, it’s a natural reaction for children to avoid admitting anything that they think will get them into trouble. They don’t want to have a parent angry with them or get punished in some way. Self-preservation is a powerful instinct.
Adults are guilty of this too. Not only do many adults avoid admitting their mistakes, they frequently insist on blaming others. When children grow up hearing their parents consistently give excuses and blame others, they will develop that pattern in their own lives too.
So, where do we start?
• Acknowledge your own mistakes in a calm way. (“I should not have been rude to that clerk. I was frustrated, and she was just trying to do her job.”)
• Discuss mistakes and how things could be handled better in the future.
• Be realistic with your expectations for your children. Childhood has a big learning curve. Remind your children that sometimes they will make mistakes but that you will be there to help them learn from them. Understand that mistakes don’t always involve dishonest or malicious behavior.
• Praise children when they do show accountability. Be supportive and acknowledge the effort it took to be truthful and take responsibility.
• Don’t bail your child out from everything. Allow […]

By |May 23rd, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Attached Child

Having a strong bond with your child is a wonderful thing, but what happens when your child is so attached that they just can’t be comfortable being away from you?

Sometimes it’s obvious that a child has some separation anxiety. Other times, a parent can be so close to the situation that they don’t see it objectively and may not recognize what others, such as grandparents or teachers feel is a problem. If you aren’t sure yourself, talk with other parents, your pediatrician or school counselor and trusted friends. Ask what they see and if they feel it is beyond a typical situation. Bear in mind that children are all different and there is a range to consider, but if your child’s attachment to you is consistently interfering with normal day to day life for either or both of you, it could be time to work on the issue.

Extreme attachment can be more serious, especially if there has been a history of trauma to the child – abuse, neglect, or abandonment are some triggers for many children. In those cases, professional help should be considered. In less extreme situations, a process of gradual weaning may be all it takes. Some key steps to try include:

Examine who is fueling the attachment- the child? The parent? Both? As parents it feels good to know our child needs us and it can be hard to step back and watch our child become more independent.
Take small steps. For example, if you have a preschooler, you may try a parent/child playgroup together first and then move on to a morning preschool program your child attends alone a few mornings a week.
Praise successes but don’t overdo it. Too […]

By |April 24th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

Spending More Time With Your Kids

We’ve all heard the clichés about spending “quality time” with our children. If you’re like most people, you probably nod your head in agreement but really don’t think too much about exactly what that looks like in your own situation.

Face it – we all think of ourselves as busy people and it’s easy for days to slip away from us in the middle of the practical obligations of work, laundry, grocery shopping, car repairs, paying bills, and otherwise maintaining our households. The other reality? Childhood is a short period of time and we don’t get any do-overs.

So, what’s the answer? In the middle of all the parental responsibilities, don’t forget to have some fun with your children. Think about your own favorite childhood memories. Write down ten things you loved to do and resolve to make some of those happen again. This isn’t about money or expensive trips. It often really is all about the little things. Camp in your backyard. Cook together. Have a pillow fight. Play with water balloons. Stage a family talent night. Go on a mystery destination car ride. Go for ice cream in your jammies. Go fishing. Have a scavenger hunt. Do a family movie night. Visit all of the Little Free Libraries in your neighborhood. Volunteer together. Practice random acts of kindness. Have a picnic. Go to the beach!

Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby to us) said it well, “If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.”

Now go have some fun and create some amazing memories!




By |March 26th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

Discouraging Inappropriate Language

Parents frequently express concern about how best to handle it when their sweet faced child suddenly bursts out with language that is blush-worthy. Do you ignore it? Do you punish for it? The answer isn’t simple and can depend on the situation.

First off, take a look at the term “inappropriate.” Different homes and different cultures may not agree on what that means. You have to determine what is and is not acceptable for your child based on your own thoughts as a parent. Is it “bathroom language?” Is it racially demeaning, discriminating or otherwise hurtful? Is it obscene?

When you have clear ideas about what you consider unacceptable from your child, next look at why the language is happening. Oftentimes children will test boundaries and set up power struggles around language because they see a significant reaction when they use the words. Sometimes inappropriate language comes as a result of frustration or anger. In some cases, children will try out extreme language to gain attention from peers. Zero in on what is happening in your child’s life at that time that may be behind the language issue. Listen to them and offer your help problem solving.

The age of the child will also help determine how best to respond. If the child is a preschooler or elementary age child, start out by simply stating that you do not use that language in your family. Stay calm and repeat that message if necessary. Sometimes removing yourself from the room is helpful. “I don’t like hearing those words. I’m going to read in my room for awhile. When you are ready to use polite words I will be happy to talk to you again.”  Older children who continue […]

By |February 21st, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Interrupting Child

It never seems to fail. As soon as you start an adult conversation with someone, your child appears and begins demanding your immediate attention. While you no doubt find this behavior extremely annoying, the bottom line is that many adults are frequent “interrupters” too. If we want our children to grow up to be polite people with solid social skills, we can start to teach some basics early on.

Babies and young toddlers rely on adults for everything. When they have a need, they often try to make that known to us immediately and we generally respond right away. As children grow into two and three year olds, they can already start the process of seeing that sometimes there is a brief wait for the attention of adults. A great technique to begin teaching at this stage is the “hand on the arm.” How does it work? When the child approaches you and begins interrupting you, show them how to place their hand on your forearm (which you make easily available to them.) Teach them that this is their way to politely tell you they want your attention.  Next, you put your other hand on top of the one they have on your arm. Tell them that that’s YOUR signal that you will be with them in a minute. Practice, practice, practice. It won’t happen overnight, but they will begin to use the technique if you consistently reinforce it. At first, try to respond very quickly to them when you get their “signal” but as they get older and more adept at it, you can gradually increase the time before you respond to them.

One last thing? Be a good example yourself. Try to become more […]

By |January 30th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|