“He made me do it!”
As a parent I’m certain those words are familiar. Our boys used that excuse with me plenty of times until I (Kendra) finally got smart.
“He made me do it!” one of them would wail, desperately hoping I’d shift my attention to his brother.
My response, “No, you chose to do it. I realize your brother may have coerced or threatened you. I’ll talk to him next. Right now you are the one I’m talking to and I’m holding you responsible for your actions!”
Here are 4 truths to win the blame game and shed light on any situation of “He made me do it!”:
1. You are responsible for your actions. The first time one of our kids heard that declaration, he was probably surprised and a little disappointed. After all, the excuse, “he made me do it,” had worked well in the past.
2. It is not just children who are fond of shifting (or at least camouflaging) the blame. As parents, it can be one of our favorite go-to excuses. “It isn’t my fault the meatloaf is burned, Sheila distracted me with questions about our vacation plans.” “It’s not my fault the car doesn’t have any gas, you didn’t tell me to fill it up.” In essence we are saying, “He (or she or you) made me do it.”
3. The truth is we are always modeling for our children. When we choose to point our finger at someone else in order to explain our actions or decisions we’re providing them with an example they can choose to follow. If you’ve been wondering how your kids learned to deflect the blame, the answer may be much clearer now. The whole “parents are a role model” thing can get pretty convicting at times.
4. The good news is this – Being a positive role model does not mean being perfect! That is actually great news because being perfect is not possible. Being a positive role model simply means being conscious of the influence you have as a parent, asking the Lord to give you wisdom, and praying your kids will give you grace.