Q. My 11-year-old son will not take responsibility for anything he does. He can forget part of his baseball uniform or homework, and yet it's never his fault. After he lost his school agenda and glasses recently, I was fed up and grounded him.
“It sounds like Mom has a little absent-minded professor on her hands, and that forgetfulness trait will continue until age 99,” says educational consultant Michele Borba. “Grounding doesn't help him learn how to be more organized and less forgetful.”
Borba, author of “No More Misbehavin': 38 Difficult Behaviors and How to Solve Them” (Jossey-Bass, $14.95) suggests these tips:
Put a reminder, maybe a colored string on the top of the backpack that means it's time to double-check: “Do I have my glasses?”
Brainstorm with your child about what would help him remember.
Give your child sticky notes to make reminders to himself – on his door, mirror, bulletin board, inside his backpack – whatever leads to success.
Find a place for everything, such as a special pocket in the backpack for glasses.
Once you work with your child on these skills, Borba says, let him know the consequence of losing his glasses, for example. He will have to pay for another pair by doing extra chores; put up a job chart with pay-off specifics.
One Davidson teacher and mother, who says kids don't have enough opportunities to learn responsibility, has backpack hooks, a blackboard, a shelf and hanging plastic folder bins for her two boys in their entryway.
A resource for parents who want to teach their kids responsibility: “Parenting with Love and Logic” (Pinon Press, $24.99) by Foster Cline, a psychiatrist, and Jim Fay, an educator. The authors say there's never been a time when parents have been so unsure of their role.Visit: www.loveand logic.com.