Teaching Your Kids to Take Responsibility for Actions

Kids Taking Responsibility – Parent Coaching Tip – Don’t Wimp Out!

From a parent’s point of view, it can be so frustrating when your kids seem oblivious to the idea of personal responsibility. But when you think about it, how would they be born with that concept. It seems for some kids this trait comes more naturally than in others. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the child who doesn’t grasp this easily, it simply means you need to teach him or her. The question, of course, is how?


It is worth looking at your expectations regarding your kids’ sense of responsibility. It needs to be age-appropriate. While the ability to take responsibility varies, it is generally unrealistic to expect young children, such as toddlers to take full responsibility for what they’ve done.


Experts don’t agree on when a sense of personal responsibility presents itself in a child. This is evident by the legal controversy that ensues when children under the age of 18 commit crimes. The courts may or may not try that particular “juvenile” as an adult.


It is difficult to tell sometimes when your child is ready to grasp the idea. It is important to weave the lesson of personal responsibility into everyday interactions.



It seems the most effective way to teach a child to take responsibility for his or her actions is to use consequences. These are not the same as punishment; in fact, many experts view consequences as more effective and true to life than punishments.


Consequences need to be consistent to be effective. They should also fit the situation. Appropriate consequences could include taking away privileges. This also assists kids to understand that pleasures such as TV time and toys are not rights.


Tough Love

Teaching responsibility means that as a parent you may have to watch your child become upset, angry or frustrated. As parents, you often just want to make everything better and your child happy. But happiness is not the only feeling that is valid. We feel all kinds of emotions and it is not realistic to expect to be happy constantly. Realistically, you and I will never have life always go great!


As parents, you have to remind yourselves of this whether it is the removal of a toy or not giving your child more money because she or he irresponsibly spent the money you did give earlier. Being firm with consequences and getting through the negative feelings tend to make it easier the next time because your child is learning to take responsibility for his or her actions.