The problem with teaching accountability is that it is such an abstract concept. Also, if you are going to try to teach accountability you need to realize that it might not be that easy. Because to teach accountability you need to be ready to make your kids do what they are supposed to do even when this means spending a little extra time listening to some whining and crying. This is an all or none job. You can’t give in and say OK, I will help you clean up this time, or you can’t let them go and you do it all together.
You can’t give mixed signals. When you give mixed signals you child does not learn that accountability is expected 100% of the time and thus, will be confused as to when it is expected. If you give into your child, you are teaching them that there are loopholes in accountability, something you don’t want to teach them. Furthermore when you give in you are messaging your kids that you are not even holding yourself accountable.
None of this will be easy at first but your mission should be to teach what it means to be accountable and that it is expected of them all the time. Some ways to do this are to lead by example. Hold yourself accountable, then you children will find it easier to follow.
You need to explain to your kids what it means to be accountable, too. Do this in terms they can understand. For example, you may use an experience where your child is involved in a situation and the person really responsible for the situation does not own up. This could be something at home where one of the other children blamed the other one for. Ask them how this made them feel and then elaborate as to how this pertains to accountability.
Once you have done this, concentrate on teaching them to be accountable by using the following steps.
Set Consequences. If your child does not do what they are supposed to there should be consequences and you need to stick by them.
Make Rules and Consequences Clear. In order to involve any arguing over what was meant or not meant, make it very clear what each rule means specifically. This will prevent loopholes that your kids may look for.
Remind your Child. Periodically remind your kids what the rules are
Be Consistent. If your children are not allowed to do something or must do something, they need to be held to this all the time.
Probably one of the most important concepts we can teach our kids is that of personal accountability. This is a tough concept to get across to kids. We teach our children all sorts of practical things as they are growing up so they will be successful, but what good is it if we don’t teach them to be accountable for themselves and their actions? Accountability is important because kids can obtain success but still not be accountable. What kind of success is that?