First off, what is the definition of accountability? To me, it means being responsible and taking responsibility for my own actions. How do I teach this to my young son as he grows up?
As our children grow up, they are going to have to make more and more choices and decisions in their young lives. Teaching my five-year-old accountability all begins with me in the home.
I must teach him how to be responsible, deal with the outcomes of his choices, and accept responsibility for them. For example, I have to set rules for my son, not only around the house but also when we are out in a public, like a park, a concert, etc. If my son breaks the rules, it is my job to teach him that he will be responsible for what happens and only he will be held accountable for it.
Being a parent I have to begin by giving my son small responsibilities around the house. Responsibilities like cleaning up his toys off the floor and being a good family member. If he chooses not to or is having a hard time focusing on that task, he understands that means no playing with his toys. It is a learning experience for him, so I join him on the floor and help him clean up. I won’t pick up everything, but simply help him with his responsibility while he is cleaning up. I make it an everyday task. By doing so, it will click in his mind that this is a task that he has to do and learn to do.
Some other examples:
- My son knows if he doesn’t eat his dinner there will be no TV for the rest of the evening.
- At a park, no rough play or name calling to the other kids out there. My son knows that if it happens, no park possibly for the rest of the week.
I know, for a fact, my son will have some slip-ups, but I as a parent have to be consistent and continue to teach my son that he will always be responsible and be held accountable for his actions. I, too, have to be held accountable. I have to continue to teach my son by being consistent and make sure I practice with him on being accountable. Consistency includes recognizing great behavior. I have to show him encouragement and reward him when he shows responsibility. By reinforcing good behavior, I plant in his mind that a lot of good comes from being responsible for his actions. It is my hope that he continues to be responsible and grows with it as he gets older.
I must be a huge role model for responsibility for my son. I must show him I am accountable for my own actions for he watches me every day. He will repeat my actions, both good and bad. My son is young at 5, so I tell him I have to go to work, it is my responsibility. I have to do yard work; it is my responsibility. I am held accountable for all the outcomes. It is solely my responsibility to teach my son how to be responsible and accountable. I want my son to grow up happy and successful and accountability plays a huge part in that. Without accountability in his life, he probably won’t get very far.
I will continue to lead and guide my child on the right path of life. It’s my job. It’s my responsibility and I will be held accountable for it.