Accountability and Discomfort

I have found a shift over the years since I’ve been in education in whether parents are willing to hold their children accountable for their actions. Maybe this is because we are encountering the first generation of parents who were raised by helicopter parents of their own. While hovering over every aspect of their child’s life, it becomes hard for the children to show any kind of responsibility or accountability on their own. 

When communicating with a parent, I can tell almost immediately whether the parent will want to blame others for something that their child did. Usually talking with the student, I also see that they want to place blame on others before accepting responsibility for their own actions.  

I think the accountability/responsibility piece is directly related to how much discomfort we allow our children to feel. They almost never experience discomfort. Everything is on demand. Kids are not good with struggle, and when something feels uncomfortable for them, they quickly move on to something else. Disagreements on the playground devolve quickly when students are not able to problem solve or compromise. 

I think if we want to hold our students to be more accountable, we need to allow them to experience discomfort. Don’t let them turn to their phone every time they feel a feeling of boredom. Don’t provide them with a planned activity the moment they say “ I have nothing to do.” Let them go out and ride their bikes and organize games with their friends. Let them police those games and self-regulate when things don’t go their way. 

Kids are going to feel discomfort at times. It’s a part of growing, and it’s a part of learning. 

Hopefully that discomfort can help them to be more accountable as well.


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