Personal Accountability- A Rant.

Personal accountability.
It's a big issue with me.
I have known people throughout my life, children and adults, who don't seem to grasp this concept.
Any negative thing that happens in their life is the fault of someone else.

"I hit a parked car?
That person shouldn't have parked there. They were parked crooked. My eye doctor didn't give me the right eyeglasses!"

"Bounced a check? Bank error. Couldn't possibly have been anything else!"

Spill hot coffee on yourself? Sue McDonald's!
Overweight? It's not your fault, blame the Twinkies!
Struggling in school? It's not your fault, obviously the teacher doesn't like you!

When I was young, if I did something wrong, my parents tended to look at my friends and put some of the blame on them. I'm not doing my homework because of the friends I'm hanging out with. My grades are slipping because of them.

This makes no sense to me. Never in my life have my friends forced me to skip class, drink, smoke....none of that. I did do some of those things....on my own free will.

I don't believe in blaming others for our own mistakes. When my kids misbehave, I don't blame their friends. While I agree that our kids' friends influence them, I believe that blaming them for your kids' misbehavior is giving your kids a scapegoat and allowing them to avoid personal responsibility.

I think it's important to empower our kids and let them know that they don't have to be a follower. They make their own choices and don't have to follow their friends' lead. And if they choose to do so, they will take responsibility for those actions. The blame will not be placed on their friends. Their friends will not face the consequences of their actions. If my kids do well and get good grades, do their friends get credit for that? I don't think so. But it's the same concept.

We want to pat ourselves on the back for our kids' successes, and find someone to blame for their failures. But we're not doing our kids any favors that way.

"Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught." ~J.C. Watts

"Some favorite expressions of small children: “It’s not my fault. . . They made me do it. . . I forgot.” Some favorite expressions of adults: “It’s not my job. . . No one told me. . . It couldn't be helped.” True freedom begins and ends with personal accountability." - Dan Zadra


blueviolet said...

I had a friend a few years back who thought her children were golden. She was extremely judgmental of other people and if she didn't think they were raising their children to her standards, she would use a disparaging tone and make rude remarks. Meanwhile, her children were drinking and partying LIKE CRAZY!!!! She thought they were perfect kids and that she had her thumb on them, but in reality, she didn't have a clue who they were.

Stacy Lynn said...

Those darn Twinkies! I knew it was all their fault. ;)

Actually, this is a huge pet peeve of mine, too. I drive a school bus and I run into parents who think their child is perfect and incapable of wrong-doing all the time. It is very frustrating and makes discipline next to impossible. I've actually had kids tell me "Go ahead and tell my parents. They won't believe you."

Good post!

Anonymous said...

Good Monday morning to you Cyndy.

In this post you are focusing on a crucial issue with being aware of what your choices are and taking responsibility for them.

Blaming others is a way to pretend that you are helpless and/or had no choice.

Ppeople always have choices. Always.
They may not like them, but they have choices, perhaps a hundred or more throughout each day.

Our society as a whole seems to ignore this, to literally walk through their days as if they are unconscious and behave as if their eyes are shut.

So much pain and drama comes from living at a surface level where you do not take responsibility for the choices you are about to make - or did make.

It's not blaming yourself as much as it is being accountable.

When you live with the concept of cause and effect, you are more proactive about how you behave and the way you perceive things, and as a result life consistently gets smoother and easier.

Otherwise? You play victim all the time or victimize others and refuse to addmit it.
Some parents love to do that when their kids misbehave, and it is sad.

Being a good role model for your kids is behaving in a way where actions speak just as loudly as words in acknowledging the choices you make.

My Mercurial Nature said...

I couldn't agree more with this post! Accepting personal responsibility and leaving it where it belongs is such an important part of growing as a person.

Stef said...

Amen to that. Such a hard lesson to learn when you are young. And to teach too. But ver important indeed!

Brandy@YDK said...

well said.

shortmama said...

Here here! I am SO with you on this...so many are lacking personal accountability these days!

Honey Mommy said...

So totally true!

Can you imagine how different the world would be if everyone took responsibility for themselves? It is mind-blowing!

Susan said...

Seriously, awesome post! It's my thoughts and thank you for writing them down!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Great post. I know I have to blame myself for buying the PB M&M's I ate last week! It is very frustrating when people can't stand up to their faults or mistakes. I hate misplaced blame!

diane rene said...

SO TRUE, my friend. growing up, whenever there was a problem among friends and I, my dad blamed me first. I hated it - especially when it wasn't MY fault (for real - lol). but I find I tend to do the same thing with my kids, only I twist it a little bit by telling them, "you may not have been the one to do it, but did you take responsibility for making it stop?"

there are times when it really may not be their fault, but I always tell them to look at where they ARE responsible - either for putting themselves in a situation or by allowing other people to do something stupid.

yes, I know it still sucks for them, but I am hoping that they "get it" one day ... cuz the other kids certainly aren't :/

Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

DUDE!! It is SOOOO the chocolate and not me eating it that is making my ass fat!! LOL!

I totally agree. My husband and I are trying to make sure our children know that they are responsible for their actions and the concequences, or rewards that follow!

Great post!

Kat said...

I COMPLETELY agree. Great post!

Amy said...

You are my hero, Cyndy. <3 :)

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I've never blamed my kids' friends either. I've always taken responsibility (well, tried to...I'm sure I've failed somewhere along the way). I'll be the first to admit my fault in a situation. It's the right thing to do...and I hope that rubs off on my kids so they do the same thing as they grow...as I'm sure yours will.

Working Mommy said...

I completely agree! I think that is a huge issue with people nowadays - they tend to blame everyone else instead of just stopping and saying, "you know what, I screwed up" which would be the honorable thing to do.


We 2 Bees said...

I have family that is like this, I sometimes feel like I do the extreme opposite. I have a hard time taking credit for anything and blame everything on myself. I loved your quotes! And your post!