How Can We Help Children Learn about Character?
Children learn about strong character when parents and other adults in their daily lives
? set a good example through their own
behavior and actions,
? set and communicate high standards and clear
? coach them on how to be responsible and
? use literature to reinforce the values of strong
Set a Good Example
We are always teaching our children something by
our words and our actions. They learn from seeing.
They learn from hearing and from overhearing. They
learn from us, from each other, from other adults in
the community and by themselves.
Children share the values of their parents about the
most important things in life. Our priorities and
principles and our examples of good behavior can
teach our children to take the high road when other
roads look tempting.
Remember that children do not learn the values that
make up strong character simply by being told about
them. They learn by seeing the people around them
act on and uphold those values in their daily lives.
In our daily lives, we can show our children that we
respect others. We can show them our compassion
and concern when others are suffering, and our own
self-discipline, courage and honesty as we make
How we conduct our everyday activities can show our
children that we always try to do our best to serve
our families, communities and country.
The way that we view money and material goods
also can mold our children's character. If we see our
self-worth and the worth of others in terms of cars,
homes, furniture, nice clothes and other possessions,
our children are likely to develop these attitudes as
well. Of course, it is important to meet our children's
needs, but it is also important to help them
understand the difference between their needs and
their wants. The expensive jacket that your child has
to have may be OK--if you can afford it.
Finally, we need to be consistent in upholding the
values we want our children to respect and not
present them with conflicting values. We may tell
our children that cheating is wrong, for example, yet
brag to a neighbor about avoiding paying taxes. We
may say that rudeness to others is unacceptable, yet
laugh when we see that behavior on a favorite TV
Anil Vij is the creator of the ultimate parenting toolbox,
which has helped parents all over the world raise smarter,
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