What Your Kids Need to Know Before They Leave Home
Playing the Blame Game
Joey and Carla Link
Comedians are good at making us laugh. Flip Wilson was a good one and he came up with a classic line in the 1960’s that kids stilluse today in different ways. When Flip Wilson was caught doing something he shouldn’t have been doing and he got the stink eye for it, he always got out of it by saying “the devil made me do it.” Eve was the first to use that phrase in the Garden of Eden when God caught her eating from the forbidden tree. That line didn’t work well for her either but even adults try to make it sound like the real thing.
How well do your kids take responsibility for what they did or should have done versus making excuses for choosing not to do it? It’s human nature to blame someone else. King Saul blamed the prophet Samuel for not showing up on time (I Samuel 13) and God took the kingdom away from Saul as a result.
How many times do your kids blame you for something like being late or not showing up on time when you got caught in traffic or simply delayed? When your kids blame you, they are really challenging you and your authority just like Saul was doing to Samuel. It was God who told Samuel when to go to Saul as a test to see what was in Saul’s heart.
You would think King Saul had learned his lesson by having the kingship torn from him, but just two chapters later (I Samuel 15) God gave Saul the responsibility of going and destroying “All the Amalekites, cattle and possessions“. When Samuel shows up he hears the cattle and sees King Agag is still alive. He asks Saul “What is this I hear?” and King Saul blames his soldiers for not carrying out their duties.
What do your children say when you realize they haven’t done what you asked them to do?
- “I forgot to do it”
- “I didn’t see it”
- “I just couldn’t remember”
- “Oh, I must have missed that, I will do it now”
Parents rarely realize that when their son didn’t fill the dog’s water dish and said “Oh Mom, I forgot! I’ll do it right now,” that he is lying. He remembered when he came into the kitchen for breakfast. He practically tripped over it to get to the refrigerator. He was hoping you didn’t see it was empty until he was at school and you would fill it yourself.
Rare is the parent who actually catches this or deals with this child for lying. Usually their child only gets off with a warning to watch the water bowl more often. If any of your kids are characterized by saying these phrases, you need to have a serious talk with them (if 6 yrs. and older) about lying and treat it as a sin.
The key really is what instruction did you give your child and what did they do with it? If you are in the process of teaching them how to be responsible, that is one thing, but once you have given them ownership of doing the task, it’s now time to hold the child accountable. Every single time his/her chores or schoolwork isn’t done, he needs to sit in isolation until he is willing to go through the repentance process followed by a correction from you. (We explain this in depth in the Mom’s Notes “Understanding Freedom’s, Pt.1 & Pt. 2)”.) Do you want to see a change in your child? Stop giving reminders and start giving correction.
So, do your kids own up to their responsibilities when they are caught? Or do they play the blame game by lying or blaming their siblings? Most of the time when your kids are playing the blame game, whether it is what they say or how they blame someone else, they are lying.
- If you find your kids are lying to you in similar ways as above, we suggest you get the Mom’s Notes presentation, “Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire” that helps parents deal with a lying child.
- If you find your kids are not taking ownership of the tasks and responsibilities you give them, we encourage you to get the Mom’s Notes presentations, “Understanding Freedoms, How to Transfer Ownership to Your Children Pt 1 and Pt 2″.
- All 43 Mom’s Notes are available on CD/MP3 and Notes/PDF
How well do your kids own their behaviors and responsibilities?These are key character qualities parents need to be sure their kids have before they leave your home. The sooner you begin working on them taking ownership of completing their responsibilities with no blame game in sight, the least likely they will dig it out again in their teen/adult years.
James 4:17 is a great verse for you and your kids to memorize to allow God’s Holy Spirit to help you parent your kids. Have God’s Word remind your kids of the good they ought to do and to know there are consequences for not doing it.