What’s the payoff?
Excuses are out there. If we know about them, why do we keep using them?
When we use excuses, we don’t need to get real…we don’t need to own it. We don’t have to admit our faults or our mistakes. We don’t have to admit that we don’t know what to do to make things better.
Example – Jenny hasn’t finished her science fair project…there are only days left. This means that her parents didn’t hold her accountable over the long term. Rather than let her learn from her consequences, Mom and Dad pitch in and do it for her. (Poor thing, she’s just little – this is too much for her)
Example – Paul shoplifts with his friends. Mom and Dad find the new items in his room (We won’t even ask where these came from – he probably borrowed the money). Mom and Dad don’t make him take them back OR they go in and pay the store keeper and the whole thing stays quiet. (Paul has promised he’ll never do it again, it was just a peer pressure thing.)
Example – Emily got into a great university this year. Her workload is huge. Thankfully, Mom and Dad have some time on their hands. (She’s so busy and we want her to have some fun so we help out a bit). Emily emails her homework home and Mom writes some of her papers while Dad helps with the science labs.
It is a perceived payoff – short term gain with long term pain.
When we parent with excuses, we never allow our kids to learn that they are whole; to get comfortable with the fact that they have strengths and weaknesses. They will make good choices and bad choices.
When we create excuses and save our kids from their bad choices, we are not allowing them the opportunity to learn. They will end up making bad choices about the same things again and again.
When we make excuses for our kids, and fail to hold them accountable, we are teaching them that the can’t be or do any better and that they should make excuses for their behaviour instead of learning from it.
This week: Hold your child (and yourself) accountable…when you hear an excuse, call it one and stay with it to help your child to own the situation – if the work didn’t get done, allow your child to learn from the consequences. If someone or something has been harmed, allow your child to make amends:
1. Own the behaviour
2. Make it right with the person that was harmed
3. Fix the problem
4. Know what to do so that this doesn’t happen again in the future.