Responsible people are clear with their words and say what they mean.
Responsible parents are clear about their family rules and the consequences for breaking those rules. Only then can
children be responsible for following the rules.
Responsible people accept that the message they hear is straight forward, and they answer it directly instead of changing the meaning of the message.
Responsible message and response:
Adult: “What time are you going to bed?” If this is a responsible message, the adult wants to know a specific time.
Child: “In a half hour.” The child takes the message to be what was meant and answers it.
Irresponsible message and response:
Adult: “What time are you going to bed?”
Child: “Why?” Child did not believe he got a responsible message so he didn’t give a responsible message back. He may have assumed he was being told to go to bed now and wanted to avoid that message.
If the adult was in fact meaning to tell the child to go to bed, the responsible message might have been, “It is your bedtime. I’ll be up to say goodnight in 5 minutes.” It would have been much harder for the child to answer that message with an irresponsible “why” answer.
Inspired by: SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR by Jean Illsley Clarke.