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How to develop accountability in your child

As parents/guardians, it is our duty to prepare our children for life in the real world. This means that it is equally important for us to help our kids build character as it is for us to provide them with an academic education. One of the most important traits that we can help our children to develop - that which helps them to become responsible and decent human beings - is accountability. In simple words, being accountable means to take ownership of the consequences, whether good or bad, of your actions. Accountability is knowing exactly what you have to do and doing it to the very best of your ability. People who are accountable understand how their actions affect others and the world around them. Thus, they tend to be very conscious about their decisions.


Here's how to develop accountability in your child - 10 easy ways:


Lead by Example

Origami dogs - big and small

There is no blueprint for raising children but I think if there was one golden rule, it would be to lead by example. Embody all the things that you want your children to emulate. Children learn by observing their parents. Demonstrate accountability in your own actions and decisions. This means that you do not fake perfection or act like you're always right. When you make a mistake, admit it and take responsibility. This sets a powerful example for your child. It also makes you way more relatable to your children.


Encourage Open Communication

Asian dad and daughter chatting

Create an environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their actions, both positive and negative. Encourage them to share their experiences and feelings, and listen without judgment. Again, lead by example. You should try to talk about your own experiences so that you children can understand that even adults have things to work through. Make sure that these are age-appropriate conversations.


Set Clear Expectations

Mom and two kids folding laundry

Establish clear expectations for behavior and responsibilities at home. When children know what is expected of them, they are more likely to take ownership of their actions. When setting expectations, try to explain the reasons behind them. This helps your children to understand the values that you're helping them to develop in age-appropriate ways. For example, a responsibility might be to feed a pet. The value here is caring for those that depend on us.


Consequences and Rewards

LittleAfrican-American girl holding lolipop

Teach children that actions have consequences, both positive and negative. Consistent and fair consequences help them understand the impact of their choices. Likewise, acknowledge and reward responsible behavior.

P.S. Rewards don't have to be physical gifts, they can also be words of affirmation.


Problem-Solving Skills

Little girl thinking with a notepad

Guide your child in developing problem-solving skills. Help them analyze situations, identify potential consequences, and brainstorm solutions. This empowers them to make thoughtful decisions.


Teach Time Management

Little girl sitting at a table doing homework

Accountability often involves managing time effectively. Help your child create a schedule or routine for homework, chores, and play. This teaches them to prioritize tasks and meet deadlines.


Apologizing and Making Amends

Mom and upset son on a couch

Teach your child the importance of apologizing when they make a mistake or hurt someone. Encourage them to make amends, whether through a sincere apology, helping to fix the situation, or learning from the experience. Again the best way to teach this is to also embody it. Be sure to apologise to your child when you too have made a mistake or hurt him/her.


Involve Them in Decision-Making

Mom, dad and child reading and laughing

Allow your child to be part of age-appropriate decision-making processes. This could be deciding on family activities, choosing meals, or determining rules for shared spaces. Involvement fosters a sense of responsibility.


Reflection and Learning

dad and daughter talking at dinner table

Encourage your child to reflect on their actions regularly. Ask them what went well, what could have been done differently, and what they learned from the experience. This reflective practice contributes to personal growth.


Be Patient and Supportive

Dad and child holding hands

Understand that learning accountability is a process. Be patient and supportive as your child navigates through their experiences. Offer guidance and encouragement along the way.


If you are interested in how to develop accountability in your child, you would probably enjoy many of our other articles that talks about building character in your children. Feel free to explore our blog! Also, we love to hear your thoughts - leave a comment!


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