There are several values that should serve as a cornerstone in our children’s moral foundation so that they grow into becoming healthy and successful adults.
Although we tend to think children are naturally innocent and honest by nature, science says differently. Children start practising deception as early as six months old when they realise fake crying or laughter can help them draw attention. Needless to say, humans are incredibly fast learners, especially through observing and empirically. Honesty is the best policy but we all know it’s not that simple. Explaining the difference between brutal honesty and being genuine with people is a rocky path, along with the place of white lies in communication. Start by setting a good example and talk openly about anything your child wants to know about, including why it is not okay to call aunt Mary fat (although she truly does have a few extra pounds).
Respect towards elderly
In today’s world where parents allow almost anything to their kids, it is crucial to teach your children about the importance of respect, especially towards the elderly and persons of authority. The best way to do this is through conversation: let them bond with their grandparents and support them so they can develop empathy and understanding for other people’s position. Encourage your children to participate in home care and chores, make them realise their contribution matters and that they too will have to rely on someone’s help when they get old. Award their efforts with kind words and affection.
It may seem to us that being righteous is a virtue that comes naturally. However, it is a direct consequence of good parenting. Your children will understand its value through real life situations, both taking a role of a victim and the one who sets things straight. Especially during elementary school (as it is the first period of independent socialising), there will be numerous events that will include your child being falsely accused of doing something or perhaps becoming a subject of mockery. Having true friends that will stand up for him will make him realise the importance of defending the ones that are weaker. It will serve as a great motivation to do well in the future. Talking about it is essential for your child building a firm moral system.
Persistence and determination
Your children need to experience failure in order to grow a spine. Reaching a balance here as a parent is not easy as you constantly fight the urge to shelter your child and overprotect it. Failing is the key element of learning not to give up. It implies unpleasant emotions such as embarrassment but kids have to go through them so they can learn all about persistence and determination. It is crucial for developing problem-solving skills and critical thinking. This healthy attitude towards life ensures your children will get back up again when they get knocked down.
Love and affection
Setting a healthy and safe environment for your child means ensuring a fertile ground for the optimal emotional growth. Children are prone to mirroring behaviour so they soak in practically everything you do and see you as their role model. Make sure they understand showing affection is healthy. Kisses and hugs are tender ways to do that and keep in mind the way you treat your spouse impacts their idea of romantic love. Say “I love you“ to them and encourage them to express their emotions. Establishing a solid base this way ensures your children will gradually build emotional intelligence and have successful relationships in the future, both friendships and romantic ones.
The art of kindness and selflessness seems to be a bit misplaced nowadays. This can be seen through how we treat these acts: as exceptions, not as normal behaviour. Children usually have difficulties to understand other people’s perspectives as they only start to comprehend their own position in the world. One way to teach them compassion is by inducing a dialogue about hypothetical situations. Through the famous “How would you feel if…“ questions, your child will start practising understanding others which is the only path to becoming less judgemental and more self-confident.
Good things come to those who wait but your child certainly disagrees. Whether it is waiting for the cookies to be baked or the adults to finish their conversation, children are naturally restless and egocentric. Mastering patience from the earliest age will ensure a less troubled adulthood as life frequently forces us to accept delays and stay calm. Unfortunately, a lot of adults have a problem with this specifically because they were used to immediate gratification when they were little.
Being a parent, you surely wish to provide your child with necessary tools and knowledge in order for him to become successful and happy. It can be nerve-wracking when you stress to avoid every possible mistake. The truth is, you are human, you will make mistakes and that is completely fine. In the end, that’s one of the things you’re trying to teach your child, right?