Growth Stages‎ > ‎

Accountability: Ages 7-12

Overview
Attachment: Ages 0-3
Following: Ages 1-8
Accountability: Ages 7-12
Self-Discipline: Ages 11-18
Independence: Ages 16-20+
Leading: Ages 20+

Select Pyramid Side:
   Maturity Goals (Yellow)
   Self-Discipline (Blue)
   Guide (Red)
   Responsibility (Green)
Maturity Goals: (Yellow Side of Pyramid)
After years of Attachment and Following, we can gradually shift accountability to our child using natural consequences (not force or manipulation) because the brain’s error detection and logical circuits are humming along nicely and are ready for the challenge.

Brain Notes: With the brain’s logical circuits firmly in place, the child can more consistently discern consequences and choose actions. Also, the developed imagination system continues the creative magic that began towards the middle of the previous stage. Coping patterns continue, but awareness and understanding of coping patterns arises, thus allowing the child to become more involved in managing his/her body’s natural defense system. Overall, emotional circuits typically enjoy a more peaceful state during this stage (in comparison to the turbulent twos, threes, and fours).

After many years of nurturing an attachment building relationship and leading our child by setting a positive example, we can now establish a mentoring relationship with our child where we have regular conversations about the natural consequences that are tied to eternal principles. The child’s mind is ripe for intelligently discussing future goals and how to accomplish those goals. We assist the child in setting goals and monitoring progress. Then we let natural consequences govern our child’s choices. When goals are not met, we show genuine empathy and concern, but still allow the child to feel the consequences for his actions and take responsibility to repair any damage.

When disciplinary correction is necessary during the Accountability Stage, we use one-on-one mentoring (as opposed to pointing out errors in public--unless immediate action is absolutely necessary) to remind the child of any natural consequences for their chosen actions. We offer support, but expect the child to handle the consequences primarily alone. Like the other stages, we don’t expect perfection right at the beginning of the stage. Maturity is a slow process. We still use some mercy (particularly when we detect stress in the system), but we can also safely insert justice because the child’s brain is prepared to understand it and he/she naturally wants to handle the challenge that comes along with it.

We see our children progressing in this stage when they not only notice other people’s shortcomings, but they also notice and accept their own weaknesses without extreme shame, guilt, anger, or rebellion. They feel comfortable talking not just about their strengths, but about their weaknesses, too, because they are learning how to set goals that will turn weaknesses into strengths without as much help from Mom and Dad. That’s very empowering.

Self-Discipline: (Blue Side of Pyramid)
Practice self-discipline at a time when my child discerns and judges my actions and attitudes.

Guide: (Red Side of Pyramid)
Discipline by mentoring my child in taking accountability, tracking progress, and practicing repentance/forgiveness.

At this stage, we review schedules, expectations, and natural consequences alongside our child during regular one-on-one mentoring sessions. We continue discussing family expectations during family council meetings (and continue to refrain from nagging about things that bother us in the moment). We begin to give monetary support as a natural consequence for self-reliance and allow our child to govern his own $$. We mentor our child in health and relationship issues (explain possible outcomes and make suggestions), but allow him to choose and then experience the joy or weight of natural consequences. We continue to show sincere empathy when distress arises.

NOTE: When a child has not experienced years of the Attachment Stage and the Following Stage prior to the Accountability Stage, he/she likely displays many coping behaviors and may be quick to use defense mechanisms (usually subconsciously), making mentoring almost impossible. When we see walls go up, we try to address the underlying stress first (usually by spending at least a few minutes (or many weeks) at the bottom of the Present Parenting Pyramid again) before discussing and implementing the child’s accountability.

Take Responsibility: (Green Side of Pyramid)
Get baptized/receive Holy Ghost (if you’re a Mormon), attend school classes and pursue talents, earn and spend own money, take care of body.

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