'Kasalanan Nya!' How to End the Blame Game With Your Kids
PHOTO BY @mielag/iStock
  • On social media, videos of cute kids abound, and we gush at their disarming innocence. There's that toddler in tears insisting it was her dolls who urged her to use the nail polish inside the room where it's prohibited ("Barbie said it a hundred times!"). There's that boy still licking the blue icing off his mouth while denying to his dad that he ate a cupcake, and a 2-year-old boy who tattled on Batman, the one allegedly responsible for the pink lipstick smudges on his mom's mirror. We all know the truth, but how do you reprimand these puppy-eyed cuties?

    It's easy to fall for the charms of these little kids, but if you listen carefully to what they're saying, you'll notice one thing in common: young as they are, they've managed to find someone else to blame for their actions.

    To blame someone is to make that person responsible for a wrongful action. Says Kate Roberts, Ph.D., an American psychologist "Kids this age don't understand that everybody makes mistakes. Blaming somebody is simply their way to avoid disapproval and negative consequences."

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    According to Psychology Today, the late John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach, had a personal mantra that made him famous: “You aren’t a failure until you start to blame.” He instilled in his team at the UCLA that mistakes and defeat were acceptable, but the blame was not. It was this winning attitude that carried the team to win 10 championships in 12 years, seven of them in a row.  

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    So how do you stop the blame game at home? More importantly, how do you raise kids into adults who will accept personal responsibilities rather than make excuses? Here are some suggestions:

    Encourage honesty

    There's a good reason kids won't come to their parents with bad news: there's the fear of being reprimanded, or punished. But if you show that you can keep your cool and be objective about a misdeed (it's a broken vase, not the end of the world!), and they get the assurance that you will listen no matter what, there's a bigger chance they'll own up to their mistakes.

    Demonstrate cause=effect

    Younger kids might not yet be equipped with the maturity to understand how one action might lead to something untoward. Using straightforward examples, show them how doing (or not doing) something affects you all.

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    Act it out

    Some kids might not even be aware that they like to put the blame on others. If this is the case with your child, try showing him what he sounds like through a reversal of roles. He'll get a kick out of being "Dad" for a while. Point out where the excuse usually comes in, but be sure to follow it through with how the scene might play out if he had the correct reaction.

    Walk the talk

    Needless to say, you need to model the behavior you want to see in your child. Seeing how you tackle difficulties head-on with a calm disposition and a take-charge attitude will motivate them to do the same. 

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    Trivial and endearing it may seem at this stage, playing the blame game is not a behavior you would like to encourage in your kids. The great Mahatma Gandhi makes a solid case for correcting the behavior: “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”

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