Creating Responsible Attitudes

The reason why it’s important that we help young people to feel comfortable with taking responsibility is so that they improve their confidence around their decision-making and can go on to become competent adults. I will share with you a key strategy that I use with parents, and it can be also used in an educational setting too. This is useful where there is a young person who would benefit from maturing a little bit and taking on board some extra responsibilities.

An example could be a young person who does not easily go to sleep at night and who frequently comes downstairs and disrupts the rest of the family. They fail to self-soothe themselves and settle themselves back to sleep again. We need to have a chat with them about taking responsibility for that particular problem. I suggest that you plan a meeting, however old they might be, I suggest a one-to-one meeting because that tells them that this is something we’re taking a bit more seriously. We’re separating them from the rest of the group the family, specifically to talk to them about this issue. I would suggest having this child and parent meeting in a new location i.e. coffee shop.

The key thing is you’re taking them away from the rest of the group and you’re going to go off to the coffee shop together and sit down and talk through these different responsibilities that you would like them to begin taking on board.

You’re going to have an itinerary with you, and this is going to contain no more than five things for older children and no more than three things for younger children. Your itinerary is going to be the things that you would like to negotiate with them and the issues that you would like to talk through just like you would if you were conducting a business meeting because if you want them to take this seriously you’ve got to behave as if this is a serious issue.

The reason why it works so well for children and young people to attend therapeutic sessions or coaching sessions with someone like myself or one of the NLP4Kids practitioners is that it’s away from the home and we talk about the issue as if it’s a serious issue and we also negotiate with them around the terms of the changes that they’re going to be making in their life. You’re going to take it seriously by putting them in a new location. You’re going to have a plan and you’re going to negotiate the points of that plan with them so, for example, if you want them to start taking responsibility for brushing their own teeth in the morning then instead of saying “I want this from you”, you might say “want this from you how can we go about making sure that this happens, what can I do to help you?”.

If you want them to take the problem seriously you need to talk about the problem in a serious way and not over breakfast or getting ready for school. There is a couple of ways to ensure we stick to it and enforce it, just like a business meeting we get them to sign a contract or you shake on it. If it’s written and pinned on the fridge door you can refer to it when the young person needs to be reminded of your agreement and held accountable for it.


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By Gemma Bailey

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