Excuse and Responsibility Psychology
· Shift causal attribution away from self (it is not my fault)
· Protect self-image (I am not the kind of person who would . . .)
Excuses that don’t work (they make others feel angry and less respecting)
· Internal (I could not find it)
· Controllable (I ran out of time)
· Intentional (I did not feel like going)
Excuses that work (they make people feel like they want to give you a break)
· External (My mother wouldn’t let me leave the house).
· Uncontrollable (an earthquake knocked out the power).
· Unintentional (I got on the wrong bus by mistake).
· Impression management
· Want to impress someone significant
· Gap between real and ideal or imagined self
· The situation calls for it
· The teacher/parent acts as the judge of good and bad excuses
· An excuse could improve the outcome.
· Self-image is put in jeopardy by threat
· Teach cause and effect - help students learn that actions have consequences and we can grow from our both successes and failures.
· Be consistent with your management and how you deliver consequences.
· Build-up self-esteem (competence, belonging, and especially internal LOC).
· Eliminate the need for students to make excuses – don’t ask for them.
· Eliminate the use of all blame. Blame is external and past oriented. Responsibility is based on an internal LOC and future oriented.
· Do not accept any “victim language.” Eliminate all learned helplessness.
· Do not be the judge of good or bad excuses.