As a parent, you have a lot of responsibilities for the future of this life you’ve brought into the earth. Not just physical but every aspect of your child’s social, psychological and emotional state matters. You have to ensure they grow to be a good citizen who contributes positively to the community. The common misconception is to think it’s too early to start learning the importance of family values or moral values, which are crucial in the later stages of their life. In reality, it’s very important to instil moral values for kids early on. Teaching them the essential skills needed for life will make the transition to adulthood much more natural and smoother. The growing years are when you can leave your children with an indelible imprint that will remain for life. Such teachable moments are an excellent opportunity to instil moral values for kids, ethical values, and principles.
Some ways to teach your child good values:
Model good values
One of the most important things you can do is set a good example for your children. They learn from seeing how you treat them, overhearing your interactions with others and observing what you do in different situations throughout the day. If you want them to exhibit values like honesty, self-respect and compassion, then you need to show these qualities yourself. All the teaching in the world can be undone if your children watch you behave in ways that contradict what you’ve said.
Apologize to your children when you make mistakes
When you fall short with them, not only do you need to acknowledge your mistake, you also need to tell them you’re sorry. This shows them that you value and respect their thoughts, perspectives and feelings.
Use everyday experiences as a springboard for conversation
Almost every day something happens that can provide you with an opportunity to teach your children about values. Use these incidents as conversation starters. It could be an incident you hear about in the news, something you or your children do or something you and they observe someone else do. These can make great on-the-spot lessons.
Share your personal experiences
Most of us can look back at our past and think of a lot of experiences that taught us some valuable lessons. Be willing to share some of those stories with your children, especially those that illustrate how you made choices that were consistent with good values.
You might tell of a time when you stood up for your convictions rather than going along with the crowd, befriended a classmate at school whom everyone else was teasing, turned in a lost wallet rather than keeping the money for yourself, or worked really hard to achieve a particular goal. When you tell each story, describe why it was such a moral dilemma, how you came to make the decision you did, and how everything turned out.
Hold your children accountable for their mistakes
Your children may get themselves into trouble now and then. They might break the neighbor’s window playing baseball, perform poorly on the job and get fired or disobey school rules and receive a detention.
Don’t let your children take the easy way out of challenges
Along the same line, you should require your children to finish projects they start, even if their endeavors get tough, tiring or mundane.
If your kids are committed to doing something, they need to follow through on that. You don’t want them to become quitters. Encourage them to finish the projects they start. In the process, they’ll develop perseverance and responsibility.
Involve your children in encouraging and helping others
Encourage your children to help others whenever they can. It’s amazing how helpful they can be to others just through simple acts of kindness, such as making get-well cards for people who are sick, befriending shy or new kids at school.
Monitor television viewing and Internet use
When it comes to teaching your children values, there will be a lot less “unlearning” that needs to be done if you minimize their exposure to wrong ideas in the first place. Granted, you can’t shelter them from everything, but you can and should limit their exposure to television and the Internet.
Applaud good behavior
When you observe your children doing something good, let them know you are pleased with their actions. Thank your children when they clean their rooms without being asked or they do their homework without grumbling. Acknowledge what a good job they did when they finished a seemingly grueling school assignment. If you walk into the living room and notice your children playing nicely together, tell them how wonderful it makes you feel to see them getting along so well.
The bottom line is that you need to communicate with your children. Talk about what they did right, what they did wrong, how to make better moral decisions, what character traits God wants to see in us, and why you’ve made certain choices in your own life. Granted, it takes time to have these kinds of conversations, but you’ll find the results worth the investment.