Only PEOPLE, not THINGS, can be responsible.
“The milk spilled.” Milk cannot spill itself. That would be magic. Only a PERSON can spill the milk.
You can help your child become a responsible person by being clear about who made the mistake. Name the person responsible.
Saying who is responsible: “You broke the toy. Let’s see if together we can fix it.”
Instead of: “The toy broke.” (No one is responsible for breaking the toy; no one is responsible for fixing it.)
Saying who is responsible: “I forgot to get cereal at the store. What else can I fix you for breakfast?”
Instead of: “The cereal is gone.” (No one is responsible for not getting cereal; no one is responsible for a solution.)
Inspired by: SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR by Jean Illsley Clarke.