Accountability and responsibility

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Allan-Matlem, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Hi,
    Accountability and responsibility has come about in a previous thread.

    There is an important message that we give kids

    A disability , frustation, injustice etc may be an explanation for behavior but not an excuse.


    There was a recent article in the new scientist on teenage brains Blakemore found that teenagers rely on the rear part of the mentalising network to make their decisions, an area of the brain called the superior temporal sulcus. In contrast, adults use the front part, called the prefrontal cortex.

    The superior temporal sulcus is involved in processing very basic behavioural actions, whereas the prefrontal cortex is involved in more complex functions such as processing how decisions affect others. So the research implies that teenagers are less able to understand the consequences of their actions,how their actions not only effect themselves , but more important how their actions effect others. They also lack the ability to empathize and relate to how others feel.

    ' Sam Lewis, a specialist in youth crime and justice, from the University of Leeds, says there has in fact been a shift away from welfare-focused approaches to youth punishment in the UK: “Today, responses to youth crime tend to emphasise offender responsibility, accountability and punishment. It seems likely that the concerns of many, including those of Dr Blakemore, may be lost in the tide of punitive policies being pursued by the government' .


    Today, responses to youth crime tend to emphasise offender responsibility, accountability and punishment.
    - Punishment may teach accountability - you have to pay for the crime ( maybe worth it , or allusion you won't be caught , and if you have paid the price you can do what you want ( at a possible price if you are caught again)and but it has nothing to do with responsibility - Responsibility is making a commitment to be a contributing member of society being aware how your actions affect others , not only what's in it for me. Responsibility comes when you teach empathy, when you teach thinking skills, how to take perspectives and consider others feelings. When a kid has been given a vision for the future , a plan to do better , has done a lot of refflecting back and thinking and then he goes and repairs what he did , does restitution , makes the apology, things are so much more authentic and meaningful.
    When we pay our ticket fines , we don't reflect on becoming more considerate drivers , rather next time I must make sure I won't be caught
    - forcing a kid to say sorry after doing something hurtful or mean. Do parents assume that making kids speak this sentence will magically produce in them the feeling of being sorry, despite all evidence to the contrary. of course they do not care if the child is really sorry, because sincerity is irrelevant and all that matters is the act of uttering the appropriate words ?
    Compulsory apologies mostly train kids to say things they don't mean- that is to lie.
    Making a kid pay before you has done reflection on how his actions effect others made a commitment to the future , makes a kid only think about what's happened to ME.
    Also what meesage to we want to give our kids . Eli Newberger , the author of the Men they will become says
    The method of withdrawing privileges is essentially negative: I can't communicate with you, and so I'll hurt you if you don't mind me. The positive counterpoint is: We all make mistakes, and you can trust me to help you do better in the future.

    Allan



    Allan
     
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Basically, teens don't think about issues in the same way adults do. The maturity they need to make more subtle choices simply isn't there until much later than we think. However, society hands responsibility to these kids well before their brains are ready. And that's PCs, not difficult children.

    Responsibility takes maturity - exposure to the processes, plus the brain maturity to cope with it. Some empathy and thinking skills cannot be taught. We just have to wait for the brain to catch up, and meanwhile be stopgaps.

    Marg
     
  3. judi

    judi Active Member

    Hi Alan - don't you think too that for some of our adult children, they can get "stuck" in the teen years, maturity-wise and never link cause and effect?
     
  4. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    My son is 11 and through our use of Plan B, he has begun to understand that he has a responsibility to be part of his solutions. He can communicate to me that he has choices of staying in a current problem (these problems led to meltdowns in the past) or collaborating towards a solution. When I use the word "responsibility" that is the context I am using. One of the changes I have noticed in him is his ability to communicate that no matter how uncomfortable it may be, nothing changes within him until he takes part in that change.

    I can give him access to tools to help with- SI and anxiety, I can help him with- social skills or get him the help needed but he has to join in and I believe that collaboration has helped him learn how to do that. I don't expect him to do it like an adult, I expect him to participate in working towards the big picture. And there's accountability to that because if he's not accountable, there is no big picture.
     
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    My impression has been that it is the parent/society that must set up a framework of rules,accountability and responsibility that teach kids to become adults. It helps guide them until the front part of their brain works as well as the back part of the brain.
    I'm not keen on the thought that a kid vandalizes or frightens people and we have to understand where he is coming from. We should treat teens differently than adults because we are still guiding them towards adult behavior but there has to be a sense of justice for the victims as well as appropriate consequence.

    It's pretty clear to me that teens think differently, are trying out the rules of adulthood, challenging what their parents beliefs are but through trial, error and consequence do they adjust their behavior. If they don't break the law because of the consequence, it's a good thing. Eventually they learn the consequence isn't the reason we obey the law. Until their adult brain understands society need for rules they have to use their teen brain of not wanting to get caught and live with the consequences.

    The problem with teen consequences at present seems that they get punishment but they don't get guidance from the legal system or maybe they do and they don't hear it. Some kids don't seem to hear or internalize what is being said at one stage but may later on. We can only hope.

    In case you haven't noticed, I'm a law and order kind of girl. Without rules in society we have chaos. Too stringent rules and consequence set the tone for rebellion. History has shown that throughout the ages.

    There is no doubt that many of our difficult children take a much longer time to mature to adult brain behavior. They are delayed and I am pretty sure that many criminals and adults never develop a strong frontal cortex.
     
  6. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    my experience with the legal system for ant (3 short term and one long term Residential Treatment Center (RTC)) and three county jails...is that the system is punitive and totally lacking guidance. punitive makes an angry person more angry. the syttem I have witnessed is meant to break the person not mold them. I most certainly find this to be true that Allan said:

    The method of withdrawing privileges is essentially negative: I can't communicate with you, and so I'll hurt you if you don't mind me.

    it didnt help ant. however I am using this theory with one addition:
    The positive counterpoint is: We all make mistakes, and you can trust me to help you do better in the future.

    the addition is I will help you as long as you are helping yourself as well.
     
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    don't you think too that for some of our adult children, they can get "stuck" in the teen years, maturity-wise and never link cause and effect?

    Absolutely, Judi!

    And Fran, yes, our difficult child do take a lot longer to mature. I have to remind myself of that daily. Sigh.

    I'm still frustrated at the lack of understanding my difficult child has, at the age of 10... my expectations are high because in some areas, he's SO mature.
    But he trashes his room and sees nothing wrong with-it (or perhaps since it's within 24 hrs he's still in the anger stage, despite the fact he's outwardly calm?) If I wait to withhold consequences, I will be inconsistent, Of course, in the middle of a meltdown is not the time to talk sense to anyone, but waiting too long can be as much of a waste. How to find a happy medium...
     
  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I'm with Fran on this topic. While I know the tweedles are very delayed in many of their choices; have a difficult time with cause & effect - the general public isn't going to give a rat's :censored2:.

    I think our difficult children really need time to mature - to learn to stop & think before acting. Unfortunately, our society doesn't allow for that learning process in those who have issues in that area.

    It becomes a tenuous balancing act.
     
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Amen, Linda and Fran.

    I say and have always said, if "I" can keep difficult child 1 out of trouble until he is 25, then he'll be ok. I've always felt it will take til them for him to have a chance at being mature. Problem is, "I" don't have the power for the next 7 years. I'm not gung-ho for him going to the Marines, however, their guidance may buy a few more of those 7.
     
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