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Attitude Makeover: Irresponsible

The First 21 Days
It's time to carry out a Major Responsibility Campaign in your home. Give your child a really important job, and trust her to do it. If she's younger, it might be making her responsible for growing a little lima bean garden (or something else that she likes). Start by giving her a packet of seeds, and get her started in the planting process. Then trust her to water them every day until they grow to a height that's ready to transplant into your yard. Watch her face light up when her plants sprout, and the beans are ready to eat.

For an older kid, find a project that requires skill building, dedication, and perseverance – perhaps making a family Web site, researching and planning a family vacation, adopting an abandoned dog or cat from the animal shelter and taking care of it, or earning enough money to buy a cell phone or other electronic gadget of his choice.

Attitude Makeover Pledge
How will you use these six steps to help your child become less irresponsible and achieve long-term change? On the lines below, write exactly what you agree to do within the next twenty-four hours to begin changing your kid's attitude so he is more responsible.




The New Attitude Review
All attitude makeovers take hard work, constant practice, and parental reinforcement. Each step your child takes toward change may be a small one, so be sure to acknowledge and congratulate every one of them along the way. It takes a minimum of twenty-one days to see real results, so don't give up! And if one strategy doesn't work, try another. Write your child's weekly progress on the lines below. Keep track of daily progress in your Attitude Makeover Journal.

Week 1




Week 2




Week 3




Ongoing Attitude Tune-Up
Where does your child's attitude still need improvement? What work still needs to be done?




Attitude Makeover Resources
For Parents
Didn't I Tell You to Take Out the Trash: Techniques for Getting Kids to Do Chores Without Hassles, by Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay (Golden, Colo.: Love and Logic Press, 1996). The importance of chores and tools for getting kids to do them without hassles.

Raising a Responsible Child: How Parents Can Avoid Overindulgent Behavior and Nurture Healthy Children, by Elizabeth M. Ellis (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1995). Creative solutions to helping kids take responsibility for their own actions and earn privileges – without your stern looks and threats.

Teaching Children Responsibility, by Linda and Richard Eyre (New York: Ballantine, 1984). A must-read: the classic in teaching kids responsibility using practical and real solutions.

The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off, by Rita Emmett (Toronto: Anchor Canada, 2002). A unique guide with dozens of practical ways to help your kid stop putting off what they are responsible for doing NOW.

Pick Up Your Socks . . . and Other Skills Growing Children Need, by Elizabeth Crary (Seattle, Wash.: Parenting Press, 1990). Well-structured content for parents to assist their kids in developing skills and then developing self-motivation.

For Kids
A Child's Book of Responsibilities, by Marjorie R. Nelsen (Longwood, Fla.: Partners in Learning, 1997). Ten child-centered categories illustrated in a clever book. Kids flip the cards themselves to the "I did it" pocket when they are finished. Ages 3 to 6.

Sam Who Never Forgets, by Eve Rice (New York: Greenwillow, 1977). Sam the zookeeper never forgets to feed the animals in his care. Ages 4 to 7.

How to Do Homework Without Throwing Up, by Trevor Romain and Elizabeth Verdick (Minneapolis, Minn.: Free Spirit Publishing, 1997). Hilarious cartoons and text provide helpful homework tips and insights. Ages 6 to 12.

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From Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.


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