But….I don’t know
The excuses continue. “But,” you say, “How can but or what be an excuse? And what if someone really doesn’t know?”
In reality, these everyday, mild-mannered words are not always excuses. However, when emitted from the lips of certain individuals, who may be trying to get out of taking responsibility, these words turn into lethal excuses! (Well, maybe not lethal…although when one hears them enough it can feel that way.)
Today, we’re hoping to raise your awareness of the use of these ‘seemingly innocuous everyday words’ as excuses in your family. If you are hearing them more than you would like to be, you can make it change.
For many, these words elicit an unpleasant reaction:
“What do you mean YOU DON’T KNOW if you have homework tonight? Don’t you know what’s going on in your life? If you don’t know, WHO DOES?!”
Are you tired of hearing, “But…?”
Are you reacting to habitual excuses?
Are you wishing that your child would take some responsibility?
Do you hate the way you get sucked into an argument without even realising it is happening?
There’s the need for that awareness again. If you are reacting disrespectfully when you hear these comments, you can plan a more respectful response.
In the heat of the moment, you can say, “I hear an excuse. Try that again.” Or you can simply say, “Excuse” and then wait quietly.
You can cue the child, “If you don’t know, how will you find out?”
Listen to the patterns in your family. If you are finding that any of these excuses are a habit, you can work with your child to find another word or phrase to used instead. Some suggestions might be:
“I’ll find out.”
“I guess I made a mistake on that one. I can fix it.”
“I’ll take care of that.”
When we teach kids how to take responsibility, we help them to feel more confident in a situation and we decrease the tiny daily family frustrations that can sometimes add up and blow up by the end of the day.