Teaching them to be responsible for own behavior – HOW?

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One thing I’ve struggled with is handling these situations with Liam when I wasn’t convinced he fully grasped the situation. He’s turning six on Tuesday, and I finally feel that his emotional and mental development are somewhere near evening out. My job is not to rescue him – from either his feelings or the circumstances that created them. My job is to help facilitate teaching him how to handle his feelings and the circumstances that created them.

Yesterday was the combined birthday party for Liam and two of his friends. It was so much fun! One of the things Liam received from my mother was the one thing he asked for: a bow and arrow set. Now, it was a cheepy and she apologized (they were out of the nicer set she had wanted to give him), but she bought it so that he’d have a gift and said we could exchange it for the nicer one if we wanted. Since he also got a little set from the dollar store, this was what we were going to do. After both he and Asher asking about 100 times if they could open it up, and having it explained to them repeatedly why they may not, they got it out this morning to sword fight with the arrows. Of course one of the arrows broke; the speed and ease with which it broke tells me the first time it hit the target against something hard it was going to shatter.

Liam had so many big feelings and ideas and excuses. “It was Asher’s idea. He made me do it.” “It was the arrow Asher was holding that broke. It’s his fault.” “We can tape it and give it back to the store.” And big big tears, too. He kept saying it wasn’t “fair” and when I told him it was fair, he burst into tears because “I don’t know what fair means.”

So, I explained:

  • Grandma gave good money to the store for a good toy.
  • We were going to give the good toy back to the store and get the good money
    back.
  • We were going to put that good money with a little more good money and buy
    a better toy.
  • Now we don’t have a good toy to give them back for good money anymore.
  • He had been told not to play with it.
  • Asher had wanted to play with it.
  • He didn’t say no, therefore, he disobeyed me and he allowed Asher to lead him into something he had been told was wrong to do.
  • He played with it.
  • It broke.
  • He made a choice and needs to be responsible for it.

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