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TIP: How to “Be Responsible”


​​ How many times have you heard your parents ask you to "take responsibility?"  Kids and teenagers dread these words because you don't really understand what that means or exactly how to do it all the time.  The very idea of being responsible all the time is exhausting for anyone.

Typically, the phrase "take responsibility" means to solve your own problems.  As you get older you're required to solve your own problems more and more.  Once you are an adult, you will be totally responsible for your own life.

So it's a good thing for parents to encourage you to be responsible so you'll know how to do it when you're older.  Here are some examples of things your parents might tell you to be responsible for and how you can translate them so they make sense: 

“Be responsible for your grades” = “If you have bad grades get better ones.”

“Be responsible for your brother” = “If your brother is having a problem, help him.” 

If there were no problems in the world, you wouldn't need to be responsible.  But since there are problems to solve every day, you will need a plan.  Problem solving and taking responsibility begins with actually figuring out what the problem is.  Once you know what's wrong with a situation then you can actually begin to make changes.

A great place to start is by asking yourself "why?"  You can do this over and over until you figure out what's truly wrong.  Problems usually don't just lie on the surface; they're often deeper reflections of other issues.  Here is an example:

Why am I doing poorly in Algebra II?.....I'm doing poorly because I fail all the tests.

Why am I failing all the tests?.....I'm failing all the tests because I don't study.

Why don't I study?.....I don't study because I get angry every time I need to study for Algebra tests.

Why am I so angry about these tests?.....I'm angry because I don't like the teacher so I refuse to study.

After really getting to the bottom of your issue, you can see that failing a subject because you don't like someone is pretty unreasonable especially if you are capable of understanding the material.  Responsibility and problem solving apply to everything in life because there are problems to solve everywhere.  Even your emotions are something that you can take responsibility for.  Emotions like anger that you feel for a teacher.

Remember: "Take responsibility" means "Solve your own problems," and that's a skill you will need for the rest of your life.  You can do it!​

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