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The Responsibility Pie Chart

A Responsibility Pie Chart (RPC) is a concrete way for young people (particularly children) to understand that all negative situations can be said to occur as a result of the combination of three factors:

•   Their own actions: How much did their own behaviour contribute to the situation (me)?
•    The action of others: How much did the behaviour of others contribute to the situation (others)?
•    Random unpredictable factors: How much did bad luck or circumstances (e.g. weather, timing, coincidences, lack of knowledge, illness) contribute to the situation (bad luck)?

The RPC can either simply be drawn on a piece of paper or a moveable device created. (See information below on how this can be obtained.)

The RPC can be used with your child following an incident or event. It is a good idea to allow them to allocate no responsibility to ‘others’ or to ‘random factors’ or bad luck. But they must always allocate at least 20 per cent to their own actions (me).

Some children may allocate too much responsibility to themselves and not enough to other factors and you can point this out to them and discuss whether they want to amend their percentages. Other children may want to decline all responsibility and you would want to discuss this with them as well.  It is difficult for us to grow and mature if we do not accept some responsibility for the things which happen to us in life and learn from them. The important point to be stressed is that they should learn from the incident and do something different next time.

It is useful when discussing responsibility with young people to try and avoid the words ‘blame’ and ‘fault’ and use the following terms instead:

•    How much was … responsible for what happened?
•    How much was what happened due to … ?
•    How much did this happen because of …?
•    How much does … explain what happened?

Click here for further information on the Responsibility Pie Charts
The RPC idea has come from the Bounce Back programme devised by Helen McGrath and Toni Noble.

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