One of the biggest troubles that we have as humans is believing that our hardest problems in life exist outside of us, not inside of us. It’s much easier to be finger-pointers than problem-solvers.
As you’ve probably noticed, your kids are very skilled at explaining away their mistakes or misbehavior by pointing to the situations, locations, events, and people in their lives.
They work very hard to convince you and themselves that the problem cannot possibly be them. Maybe you’ve heard these excuses:
- My teacher/coach misunderstood me. That’s not what I meant.
- I didn’t feel good, that’s why I did what I did.
- I must not have heard you.
- He/she started it!
- I didn’t have time.
- That’s just not my personality.
- You don’t understand how hard it is to get along with him/her.
I’m sure you can add to the list of excuses you’ve heard from your kids. Maybe you can add to the list with some of the excuses you’ve come up with as well–either to your kids or to other people in your life.
We are all very good at fooling ourselves into thinking that if we make a mistake or act wrongly, it’s someone else’s fault.
You can never control another person’s actions or reactions, but you can control your own. What happens inside of you when things go wrong outside of you?
This is the lesson parents must teach their children: you are the only one responsible for your behavior.
That’s where character-building comes in. When your child begins to learn that blaming others for their problems is not the right way to handle difficulties, they can take the first step towards looking inward to control their responses, not looking outward to fix blame. Blaming others may make them feel justified temporarily, but it never solves the problem at hand.
Don’t raise kids who are always pointing fingers at others; raise them to examine their own responses first as they look for ways to resolve the issue.
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