While many talk about leaving a better world to our children, accountable parents work to leave better children to the world.

Whoops

One thing I’ve learned writing a bunch of books is this: Every book has typos.

Some mistakes don’t matter much, as we can still understand the author’s meaning—even when there are two in one sentence! Example:

“The theif couldn’t climb the fence while wayed down by the gold coins.”

But some mistakes change the writer’s entire message, like the one we found in our Parenting the QBQ Way book. If you have a copy of the book, follow along …

Here’s what is printed on the upper half of page 3:

Since this book is focused on personal accountability in parenting, we prefer to encourage all dads and moms—including ourselves—to look beyond how we parent for reasons why our children think, feel, or act the way they do. 

Here’s how it should have been printed:

Since this book is focused on personal accountability in parenting, we prefer to encourage all dads and moms—including ourselves—to NOT look beyond how we parent for reasons why our children think, feel, or act the way they do.

Yep, the word “not” is not there, somehow deleted in the proofing/editing process. One little word, one big difference. Ouch.

To this author, it’s a big deal because the core message of our parenting book is this:

My child is a product of my parenting.

I’m accountable for what he or she is becoming.

Outstanding parents don’t blame external factors. Rather, they look in the mirror asking The Question Behind the Questionor QBQs—like, “How can I learn new parenting skills?” and “What can I do to change my approach?”

But what’s most bothersome about our page 3 mistake is the way it’s written now is actually socially acceptable for many. So often, when a child is “acting out,” the mom or dad is NOT thinking, Huh. My bad. I need to alter the way I’m parenting.

More likely, these are the thoughts:

  • She’s just like her sister.
  • He’s strong-willed, you know.
  • She picked up that bad habit at daycare.
  • Television is a terrible influence!
  • His friends are a terrible influence!
  • Teachers and youth leaders aren’t doing their job.
  • Hollywood, politicians, celebrities, and star athletes set lousy examples!!!

Personal accountability in parenting is no different than personal accountability in life.

I recently keynoted a conference of 600 franchisees. When the organization’s president and I talked by phone before he booked me, he said, “John, I haven’t read QBQ! yet. Can you sum up your message in a few words?”

I said, “Yes, I certainly can. ‘No excuses. I own the results!’

He hired me.

See, when running a franchise of any kind where the desired results are NOT there, a weak franchisee blames the “lack of advertising,” his or her store location, the employees, competitor pricing, and/or the economy.

But the strong, accountable owner doesn’t go there. What you hear this person say is, “I own the results!”

That’s what strong, accountable parents say, too. They simply don’t buy into society’s current mantra that nothing is ever anyone’s fault. They ask QBQs such as, “How can I improve?” and “What can I do to solve the problem?”

Just like I am completely accountable—after proofing the manuscript a dozen times—for the error on page 3 of the “PQW” book!

So, please, don’t let my writing mistake become your parenting mistake. Put accountability into action by …  NOT looking beyond yourself for why your child thinks, feels, or acts the way he or she does.

That’s what outstanding parents do to raise great kids.

For Comment:

What excuses have you heard dads and moms make about why their kids “think, feel, or act” the way they do? Have you made any parenting excuses? If so, give us an example! :-)

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About John G. Miller

John G. Miller is the author of QBQ! The Question Behind the Question, Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability, Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional and co-author of Parenting the QBQ Way. He is founder of QBQ, Inc., an organizational development firm based in Colorado dedicated to “Helping Organizations Make Personal Accountability a Core Value.” A 1980 graduate of Cornell University, John has been involved in the training and speaking industry since 1986. He lives in Denver, Colorado with his wife, Karen. They have seven children and three grandchildren.

Did you like this post? Try some of John's other ones!

26 Responses to “No Excuses Living Is No Mistake”

  1. Vivian

    An excuse I’ve heard from parents? “So and so is just jealous of you.” Oh, please!

    Reply
  2. Lisa Huetteman

    The worst parenting comment I heard was from the mother of a teen caught using drugs. “Oh, kids these days dø this.”

    Reply
  3. Barbara

    Oh that comes from That side of the family!
    What ever the behavior it must be a family transit com That side of the family.
    Have to confess i have probably even used it….of course for the good things kids do …..ha ha.

    Reply
  4. D Brown

    John, I’ve heard an excuse in my house, and it was from me. I found myself say, I guess my 4 year old just doesn’t listen well. Then I asked, how can I help him understand the value of listening. Listening to him was one of the real solutions.

    Reply
  5. Stephen Scott

    “They have selective eating disorder.” No you let them throw a fit and don’t discipline them when they don’t listen to you. I shake my head when I hear this pseudo medical condition used by a family member.

    Reply
  6. Jim Fruth

    I DO know this. Whatever parents choose in moderation, children often choose in excess. So if we choose to make excuses or choose NOT to take personal accountability, our children may choose it in a greater way.

    Reply
  7. Leanne

    The best “Worst” parenting comment i have heard is “It’s just easier if I do it myself” instead of expecting the child to do what he/she should be doing such as a chore or housework or picking up their own messes.

    Reply
  8. Lisa

    “My kids aren’t as bad as so-and-so’s kids are, so they are okay.” I have heard this several times and from people who also say to their kids, “so if your friends jumped off a bridge would you?” So they don’t want their kids to compare themselves to others, but then parents compare their kids….. hmmmmm

    Reply
  9. Rhonda

    I support your premise, parents are in charge and sometimes forget that and give excuses. This subject seems a very delicate one. My children are grown and I struggle, at times, with blaming myself for their actions now. I realize I made mistakes and they are going to have some challenges in life because of that. Taking responsibility now does not change their past.

    Reply
  10. J

    I purposely kept from my child that my child has a genetic disorder that in some kids results in learning disabilities. I did not want my child to have an excuse of why my child chooses not do homework or tests. My child is a B and A student so my child does not have to have excuses so no reason to give my child one.

    Reply
  11. Chris

    As a teacher I often have conversations with parents who seem to have given up or possibly had never started being an intentional parent. When I call about Johnny’s grades or classroom behavior I always offer tips about what I have done with my own children (I have three. Two have flown the coop and one is getting ready) and what I have tried with their child in the classroom. The thing that never ceases to amaze me is the way so many parents try to turn things around and blame the teacher. I wish I could send home QBQ material with every student. It has helped me be very intentional and successful as a parent.

    Reply
  12. DAA

    Excuses are easy to make. In mysituation my husband and I have adopted a son with very strong ties to his biological siblings that he visits regularly. It is very easy to excuse unacceptable behavior as a result of his genetics or the influence of his siblings. However, excuses in the form of positives are also possible. When my son behaves better than his siblings I mentally take credit for that. It is much more difficult to tell myself that I am responsible for ALL of his behavior – both acceptable and unacceptable. I look forward to reading the book!

    Reply
  13. Antonio parente

    Sometimes as a parent I have asked myself the wrong questions like “why won’t my child listen?”. This resolves nothing. The real question I need to ask is “what can I do to get through to my child?”. It may be discipline, or a different approach on educating my child, but the one thing that is not going to solve anything is vicitm thinking.

    Reply
  14. DS

    Being in law enforcement, I hear and see the blame game on a daily basis. The best ones are when we get the blame for something the kids have done.

    Reply
  15. Tracey McD

    “The teacher doesn’t like my child” or “they shouldn’t have given that test so early in the day.” Using those type of excuses just teaches the child it’s okay to lack accountability – it’s always another person’s fault.

    Reply
  16. Joshua Swift

    I believe most parents blame the media for their kids poor behavior and their kid’s friends. I have caught myself blaming my children’s poor behavior on others when it is truly my responsibility.

    Reply
  17. Mercy

    The comment i heard from my neighbour was that her child acted that way because of the environment he grew up from. To me, that is a very wrong thing to say because my mother would have beaten me if she heard that i acted stupid so that it will not repeat itself.
    In Nigeria then, the tradition of using the cane or rod to correct a child was very good until now that if one used it on children, it has been pronounced an offence. Even at schools, teachers are scared of flogging a child when the child does a very wrong act that warrants flogging.
    I would be happy if my child is corrected properly and when i hear about it, sits him/her down and give the correct advice for such not to ever repeat itself again.

    Reply

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