Who is Responsible?
"I wish I could teach my children to be responsible"
Before we address this heartfelt wish, let’s look at our own responsibility vis-à-vis children.
For starters, we are responsible for our beliefs, our thoughts, our actions, our behaviors and our attitudes!
Then do we often use the phrase "Kids these days…."
If the child is lazy, who is responsible? If the child is rude, who is responsible?
If the child steals, who is responsible? If the child starts drinking, who is responsible?
What may happen if we flipped this whole issue on its head and stood up and said "WE'RE RESPONSIBLE?
My child cries a lot; my child disobeys a lot, my child …….
Children simply do what works - and aren't we, as parents, responsible for what works!
If the child is seeking attention (as in above cases) and all we give him is a strong dose of "Why are you crying? There is no reason for you to cry.
Now, shut up, otherwise….."
And if in 99 out of 100 cases the child cries even louder, then let’s think who is responsible!
And if by chance the child is little older, out we come: "You are so old and you whine and sulk - can't you grow up?"
Look who needs more maturity to handle emotions, to manage temperament?
We or them?
Is the trouble out there or are we co-partners? What will happen if we start looking at ourselves as co-creators of problems? Possibly we would also hold ourselves responsible as co-creators of the solutions.
A toddler runs onto the road; she is about to get a big whack - but wait - before the slamming of "I have told you thousand times", let’s ponder who is responsible here?
What children say or do may be the stimulus, but never the cause of our feelings! Finally we choose how to receive what they say or do. Doesn't responsible mean – being able to respond in an appropriate way?
You will all agree that it is important for children to understand that it is okay to feel whatever one feels - but acting on our feelings could be counter productive. Instead as parents we go about acting on our own feelings. So much for teaching, thank you! And then when the child acts on his or her feelings…..
Our language is a master masquerader - cleverly putting the responsibility on our children?
When we say, "You irritate me", the message is that the child is responsible for my irritation. No wonder nobody likes to be on the receiving side of such a transfer of responsibility.
Paraphrase it as "I feel irritated, because ……” That's the magic word – "because". The moment we say BECAUSE we identify a NEED of ours, and immediately we take responsibility of our feelings. So try, "I feel irritated because
I do not like that noise" etc. How will you feel if you were to receive that!
If child doesn't score high or doesn't come first, do we say, "You disappointed me"?
Well. the child didn't disappoint us, our own expectations disappointed us!
Blame it on the child seems to be the common approach. Right from "No time because children" to "I gave up my career for them" - somewhere the responsibility is slipped off. As if they took the decision for us!
Dear Parents, its time we sealed this forever, it is not our children, but WE who are responsible even for their being responsible people as they grow up. After all that's what PARENT is all about:
P - responsible for Providing
A - responsible for Accepting
R - taking Responsibility
E - responsible for Examples
N - responsible for Nurturing
T - responsible for Training. And if that is what parenting is, it’s no use blaming children, the school, the society, the media or the times. Let’s take responsibility.
(And now that we are ready to take responsibility, next week we talk about how to help children become more responsible).
By Ratnesh & Aditi Mathur
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