“He did it!”
“No! He did it!”
We’ve all heard it. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all played it.
The Blame Game.
For a lot of us, we ALL play it, EVERYDAY. We play it with our family, our spouses, our children, and the general public.
We blame our parents for our shortcomings — somehow, they didn’t raise us properly.
We blame our spouse for everything under the sun — because well, they’ll likely put up with it, at least for a while.
We blame our children for our stress and exhaustion, when it was our choice to enter the world of parenthood.
And, we blame the general public for their lack of common sense and poor driving ability. Okay, this one may be deserved…you agree?
Ugh. Do you know what the problem with all of this is? It is the fact that we are blaming everyone else for everything that happens to us and around us. This is juvenile. This is immature. It is naive and it is selfish. So, what should we do instead?
We need to take responsibility for our lives, our decisions, and our environment. We also need to take responsibility for the situations that we get ourselves into, and for our own behavior. If us as parents do not appropriately illustrate the acceptance of responsibility for our children, then they may grow up with a self-righteous attitude, fostering an inherent belief that one should blame their problems and hardships on anyone but themselves, because that is what other people are there for right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.
An article by Elliot D. Cohen, PhD., on Psychology Today, titled, “Stop Playing the Blame Game,” describes the blame game as “one of the most destructive human pastimes”. Cohen notes that the blame game has been “responsible for mass casualties of war, regrettable acts of road rage, and on a broad interpersonal level (social, familial, and work-related), a considerable amount of human frustration and unhappiness”. Cohen contends that to combat this, we need to “recast responsibility, as a way to learn from [our] mistakes, as well as those of others” and to “accept your fallibility as a route toward self-improvement”. Cohen concludes his article by encouraging us to “try to make things better, but rest content that [we] live in an imperfect world — to embrace this imperfect universe and the fallible beings in it, [ourselves] and others —and stop blaming people for it”.
Basically, what he is saying is that the constant finger-pointing that we are doing, is preventing us and our lives, from receiving and experiencing positive change. Why are we doing this to ourselves? This is such a mistake. The truth is that it is only when we begin to accept responsibility that we will be fully capable of accepting, and fully appreciating, all of the positive life moments, occurrences, and changes that are happening in the moment, and those that have yet to come.
Parents, this begins with us and it needs to begin now.
An article by James Lehman, MSW on Empowering Parents, titled “Child Outbursts: Why Kids Blame, Make Excuses and Fight When You Challenge Their Behavior,” states that when children are thinking of themselves as the constant “victim,” it gives them “the ability, in their mind, not to take any responsibility—and if [they] don’t take responsibility, then [they] won’t have to change”. Lehman contends that we, the parents, have to challenge our children’s thinking and teach them how to take responsibility. But, do you know what this requires? This requires that you, the parent, challenge your own personal thinking and that you start taking responsibility for your actions.
We cannot raise children who take responsibility for their own actions if we ourselves are unwilling to be responsible for our own life choices and circumstances. Let’s all work on this…myself included.
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something in blaming [him], but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy”. – Wayne Dyer