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Parenting Articles about Accountability & Responsibility

Teach your children about accountability and responsibility with the advice in our many articles, blog posts and podcasts on the subject. Learn what "being accountable" really means—and why it's vital to teach it to your child. Teen responsibility isn't just a dream. Step by step advice from straight-talking experts.
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Keeping Kids Safe from Predators Online and Offline

Keeping Kids Safe from Predators Online and Offline

Jerry Sandusky. Michael Jackson. Mary Kay Letourneau. All of these individuals were accused and/or convicted of committing unspeakable crimes against children. While certainly upsetting, these high profile cases are a good opportunity to spark a conversation with your kids about staying safe, as parents are the first and most powerful line of defense against predators. When parents educate their children, and make home a safe place for kids to ask questions and talk about their experiences, children are less likely to become victims. Having a discussion with your child about online and offline safety isn’t always easy or comfortable, but it is important.

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6 Brain Training Exercises for Children and Teens

6 Brain Training Exercises for Children and Teens

When you look at kids and people in general, it’s easy to see that we all have differences in our “wiring,” in how our brains work. As a parent, you see these differences between your children every day. Your son is great at figuring out how long it will take him to write that English paper while your daughter always seems to think she’ll get it done in an hour, even though she never does. Or one child remembers everything she’s told, while the other can’t remember a log-in and password a minute after you just said it.

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Ask Once and Your Kid Does It: 5 Ways to Make it Happen

Ask Once and Your Kid Does It: 5 Ways to Make it Happen

A few weeks ago, on the Empowering Parents Facebook page we asked parents to share the one day-to-day thing they find most frustrating about their kids. The overwhelming answer? “I have to tell my kid five times to do the simplest thing! Every single day, it’s a battle. I want to tell him once and have him march off and do it! It would make everyone’s lives so much easier.”

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Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

Are You Doing Too Much for Your Child?

As parents, many of us do things for our kids that we were able and expected to do for ourselves when we were children. Our parents didn’t often feel the need to negotiate with our sports coach, solve our every problem, or entertain us in our free time. A big difference from today, when all too often we are over-involved in many areas of our children’s lives. Sounds funny, I know. How can a parent be too involved or do too much for their child? Isn’t that just being a good parent? But when we don’t expect our kids to take responsibility for chores or their behavior, and we attempt to smooth away all the bumps and bruises that are a natural part of childhood, we aren’t doing our kids a favor. Instead, we’re bringing them up to avoid taking personal responsibility and to expect that others will take care of things for them – even when they are really able to take care of themselves. We’re teaching our kids that life is full of unmanageable problems, when what we want them to learn are the basic skills to manage those problems. Stepping back and taking on the role of coach and teacher instead of “do-er” and “fixer” was one of the hardest things I had to do as a parent. But as my husband James Lehman said, it is also one of the best things you can do to help your child build their social and problem-solving skills and learn responsibility.

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Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer?

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Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Inside Your Teen's Brain: 7 Things Your Teenager Really Wants You to Know

Have you ever wondered what’s going on inside of your teenager’s head? What was she thinking when she made that choice? Why won’t he listen to what I’m telling him? It can seem as if an adolescent is completely wrapped up in a separate world, feet planted firmly in the air instead of on the ground. As parents, we often come away bewildered or frustrated when our teen’s perspective seems so utterly different from our own.

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Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

Disrespectful Kids: How to Get Your Child or Teen to Behave with Respect

We all know that kids can act in many disrespectful and rude ways to parents: they can slam doors, roll their eyes, and tell you they hate you, to name a few.It’s natural to get very worried and frustrated and wonder if these types of behaviors constitute out-and-out abuse, or just “rudeness and mild disrespect.” How can a parent know when these rebellious and rude behaviors have crossed over a boundary and gone way too far?

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Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

Life Lessons for Kids and Teens: 5 Skills Every Child Needs to Learn

When my son received his GED this year, I put together a small scrapbook for him with photos, quotes, and cards from his friends. I also considered the life skills he’s already mastered and thought about the ones he’s still working on. The big aha moment for me? Realizing that everything else in life builds upon the ability for kids to be able to dothese five things…

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How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

How to Talk to Teens: 3 Ways to Get Your Teen to Listen

You know the drill: you’re trying to talk to your teen about curfew. Or dinner. Or absolutely anything—and they pretend they can’t hear you. They start an argument with you, or give you an eye roll and a Whatever. Or they turn up their music. They won’t lift their eyes from their screens. They scoff or grunt in your general direction. There’s no eye contact, no acknowledgement, and absolutely no hint of, “Yes, Mom, I understand what you’re saying to me.”

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How to Stop Worrying and Avoid Helicopter Parenting: Don’t Do These 6 Things

How to Stop Worrying and Avoid Helicopter Parenting: Dont Do These 6 Things

“When I was young, my mom and dad sent us out to play in the morning in our neighborhood, and we didn’t come home until dinner time,” a friend said to me recently. “But times have changed. I feel like I have to keep constant tabs on my kids. I wish they could have the kind of childhood I did, but what can I do? I need to make sure they’re safe.”

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5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

Watching my child struggle without stepping in to “fix” things for him was one of the hardest things I’ve personally experienced as a mom, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. And the truth is, from the very beginning, being a mother is a balance of taking care of your kids while letting them grow up and learn from their mistakes. Your role of simply loving and protecting your baby from pain and discomfort changes to one of accepting that your child or teen will need to experience natural consequences for his or her actions. The hard part (for them and for us!) is that these consequences almost always include some discomfort, disappointment or pain.

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Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

“I love my son, but things are getting really rough. I never expected him to still be living at home in his twenties. I don’t mind helping him while he gets on his feet, but most of the time he acts like he’s still thirteen – and he’s twenty three! This is not what I pictured!”

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Parenting Teens: 5 Ineffective Things to Avoid Doing

Parenting Teens: 5 Ineffective Things to Avoid Doing

At Empowering Parents, we talk a lot about “effective” versus “ineffective” parenting styles. In fact, James Lehman reminds us that it’s not about whether your parenting style is right or wrong, it’s about whether it’s effective.

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Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Do your kids drive you crazy? If you were asked to describe them, after saying, He's a good kid, but... would you use words like “defiant,” “whiny,” “unmotivated,” “disrespectful,” “angry,” or “demanding,” with a few positives sprinkled in? If the negatives loom larger in your mind than the positives, the first thing to realize is that this is natural. We parents are human after all, which means we tend to look for what’s wrong with our offspring so that we can focus on what we should “fix” in them. Somehow this calms us down; we believe we are improving their chances of long-term survival in an often difficult world.

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