How do you get your daughter to except defeat? How do you get her take responsibility for her behaviors and actions? Or how do you get her to do her chores and like it? One word – accountability!
Although this article is written for daughters it is applicable to all of us. Righting your wrongs – this is one of the hardest life skills we all struggle with. I think that it is often helpful to break big concepts into bite-sized pieces in order to fully understand it. After all even adults are still getting this one wrong. Let’s see if we can teach our daughters the right way and learn a few skills to brush up on ourselves.
Let’s start with taking ownership. Ownership is a word that should be a part of our daily routine. You have to get your daughter to take responsibility for her actions, her behaviors, and her wrongs. For example, if your daughter breaks the house rule by calling her siblings rude names or being physically aggressive with them, she may be in the habit of blaming her siblings for her abuse. You may hear her say things like “he/she wouldn't get off the computer and I wanted to use it or he/she wouldn't move, so I pushed them. Your daughter should understand that no matter how it got started or what happened first, everyone is responsible for their own behavior, and everyone has to follow the rules. And there are natural consequences for bad behaviors.
In the adult world - you are the supervisor and in charge of shipments safely. You were to preoccupied to check shipment before it left and it arrived at the destination damaged and broken. Your boss says that you were responsible and you think differently. You were in charge of the shipment, and you understand that you need to take responsibility for what happened. Discuss how you will make sure it is done differently next time and offer to work over (without pay) to fix the problem. Both are what it means to take ownership and to be responsible. Let your daughter know what happened and how you handled it, including any anger or disappointment. This will allow her to see firsthand that adults make mistakes too.
Failure is another word for your daughter to get to know. Failure is only a threat when it becomes fatal and you give up and not heed the lessons it provides. Instead of it demoralizing her, it could be used to encourage massive positive change. Encourage her to reflect and put a plan together. This means she needs to break it down step-by-step, and setting out what directly relates to achieving her goal.
Encourage her to set goals that can result in gradual improvements. This will allow her to look at each step and improve on it. This will also allow her to see her mistakes as a way of learning. It will be considered her responsibility to herself. Don’t encourage her to perfect her goals – perfectionists are great at making plans, but are terrible at completing them. This will merely set her up for failure. Make sure to include follow-through.
Execute the plan. Hard work will be a thing of the past. At this point she will be gratified by everything she does. She will embrace hard work. She will welcome the thought of improving her mistakes. She will consider work as a learning tool and a loss an excuse to improve. She won’t mind doing chores because they won’t be chores they will be responsibilities to her. She will look at task, behaviors and learning as beneficial tools for life. She will learn character traits that can be used in school and later on in the workplace. Teach her the skills needed to have a successful life by always looking for ways to improve upon them.
Now look at the outcome. When she’s in competition she won’t view loosing as a loss but an opportunity to improve. In getting back an assignment with a low grade, she will see it as an opportunity to improve (get smarter). When she does not have the ability to do or get something, she will view it as an opportunity to earn it. She will take responsibility for her actions and behaviors - and she will right her wrongs. And the best part - you the parent will improve on skills you didn't even know you had.
Live, Laugh and Love
“Making a difference in the world one person at a time”