Step Dont Excuse Excuses

Irresponsible kids often try to get out of their responsibilities by making excuses (or fibbing, inventing justifications, or lying). So set a new family policy:"We do not excuse excuses." Then the very next time your kid tries shirking his responsibilities with an attitude, enforce the policy, and help him find a solution to his problem so there is no excuse.

Suppose your kid makes an excuse for his misplaced library book: "How can I remember where it is? I can never find anything around this house!"Your response to the attitude is: "That's an excuse.We don't make those in this house.We're going to figure out right now what you can do so it won't happen again." One excuse-busting solution that a parent and child created was to have the child set aside a box near his bedroom door for his library books; then he taped a big card to the box with the due date plainly visible. The result: no more excuses or lost library books. Here are a few more examples of kid excuses turned into solutions:

• "I was too busy to put my toys away." A young child draws himself a picture of a box or shelf as a reminder that the rule is: "Not later but now" or "As soon as you stop playing, you put your toys away."

• "I didn't know what time the game started." Your kid writes his time schedule and posts it on the refrigerator or bedroom door. A young child can draw a clock face showing the time.

• "I forgot to give the note to you." Your child sets aside a basket near the front door. As soon as he walks in the house, he must empty his backpack and put any teacher notes in the basket.

• "Itgot too late to do my homework."The new house rule is: "Homework must be done (and done well) before play or entertainment."

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