According to thought leader Simon Sinek, one of the challenges that many businesses face today when hiring younger workers, those that are considered Millennials and Gen-Zers, is coping with the consequences of a failed parenting experiment. In other words, it’s tough to discuss responsibility and accountability with young people who have been taught their entire lives how fantastic they are. It is extremely challenging when performance falls short of expectations and a manager must offer a tough coaching message.
Many adults have most likely witnessed a situation or scenario at work where this type of behavior has come into play. However, as parents we need to get back to the fundamentals and help move our children down the path of becoming responsible adults, by helping them understand that every decision has consequences. It really is that simple.
Choices have consequences. This is not very clear when someone has been told that they are amazing at everything they do, especially when this is false. Parents who cannot convey that message to their children will raise irresponsible adults who believe they are great at everything, are never at fault, can do as they please, without any repercussions. That is a problem. Even in an ever-changing world.
Nurturing Accountable (Future) Adults
Recognizing that every decision they make has consequences, both good and bad, is the key to instilling a sense of responsibility in people. That is why it is critical for people to grasp this concept at a young age.
A simple example are household chores.
If you ask your child to clean their room, a not so thrilling chore (task), then in most instances children will reply that they don’t want too.
As a parent, then you need to convey that that is absolutely fine, however that that personal decision on behalf of your child will have consequences. In this instance one could say that there is no TV time for X period. How to phrase such sentences is also very key! In this instance one could go about saying “I accept your decision, however, you must understand that the consequence of not tidying up your room is no TV time. It’s completely fine if you do not want to, however, that this the consequence.”
This conveys the message that your child has had the choice, and that each decision taken comes with a consequence. The earlier this is learned, the better it is for a person as they grow in life.
As A Parent, Stick With What You Say
Often as parents, we might make some very obnoxious claims to our children. Saying odd things like “I will throw all your toys out” is not something that your likely to do. The words do not fit the actions and hence children will interpret this in their own unique way.
As in the above example with cleaning their rooms, your child may have put your determination to the test as well. If not, give it a try and propose the agreement above. And like any other parent, you don’t want to make your children’s lives difficult, however, if you want to educate your kids that their actions have repercussions, you must be willing to keep your commitments.
Hence, no throwing out wild claims about throwing out toys, or any other statement that is completely obnoxious. Its the simple things like being completely prepared to disconnect the TV or the gaming console in order to assist them in grasping the gravity of their actions.
If that is the decision they take, then they will be forced to look onto an empty screen, especially, lets say with the example above, the first time they fail to clean their room. Having actually done as you said, and pulling through on the consequence, and them not being able to enjoy their entertainment, will if not at first, gradually chance the subject over time and the next time around as they begin to grasp the concept of consequences.
In most instances, especially in our day and age, children with tablets and TV time, understand digital (often far better than adults), and hence giving up that screen time next time around will often lead to them just cleaning up their rooms when asked. (And of course there is a difference in asking vs. demanding, but that is for a different post).
And hopefully, as parents you will see that as your child grows, learns life skills, and continues to learn that each of their actions have repercussions, as they mature into adults, they will be able to deal with life very differently, especially in the working environment. Once a child realizes that every action they perform, whether it was preparing for tests or finishing their schoolwork, had repercussions that they have to learn to live with, then their view of accountability and responsibility become completely different. The simple understanding that if you are prepared to accept the results of your actions, then go for it, regardless of what “it” is.
The World Is Full Of Possibilities
Kids must understand that their choices can expand (open) or contract (close) the range of possibilities that are available to them in life. This is another aftereffect of teaching them the above. For instance, if you do your homework and obtain high grades, you increase the number of universities you may enroll in. Or, you may increase your employment chances by studying more and consuming less beer while in college. Better jobs therefore create additional options for where you can live and the lifestyle you may lead.
Sadly, not everyone picks up on this lesson right away. And as young adults it is often those who have been raised and brought up with the mindset that accountability and responsibility can be brushed aside, just because that is the way it is. This mindset of entitlement, regardless of where you are from or how much wealth your family may have, is often what leads to being delusional and acting entitled, just because. However, if consequences are taught from an early age, then accountability and responsibility are perceived and carried out much differently then what we currently see a majority of people, from all walks of life, carrying out today. Realize that certain actions will limit your child ability to do things in the future.
Begin early, or begin now!
Teach your children early on that every choice they make has an impact if you want to provide them many possibilities to build fulfilling lives for themselves. It is hoped that teaching kids to postpone satisfaction at a young age would help them learn to earn the right to the lifestyle they desire. The same goes for employees.
Even though it can be unpleasant to turn them down at the time, they’ll appreciate you in the end.