Children are much like sponges. They just absorb things, good and bad, from their environment. There are so many things we don’t have to physically sit down and teach our children. Morals are one of the many lessons that we teach our children without books, manuals, and desks. Morals are something that our children watch us and learn. The biggest thing we as parents can do is teaching children values.
Teaching Children Values: Modeling
If you want your children to be raised with morals, use them in your life. Practice what you want to teach them. It’s that easy. If you don’t want them to smoke when they are older, don’t smoke when they are young. When you think that they should only drink sociably when they grow up, then you should lead by example. If you want them to be honest and trustworthy, you must be honest and trustworthy in their eyes.
Children naturally want to be as good as their parents, if not just a little better, when they become adults. So if they see that their parents have and use values, they are more likely to have and use the same values, as they grow and later in life.
Teaching Children Values: Knowing Perfection is Impossible
It’s hard to try to be the “perfect” role model. Because everyone is human, mistakes will be made. If your child is old enough to question your values and moral judgments, remember “honesty is the best policy.” If you make a mistake, admit it. Our children need to know that even adults make mistakes. It will mean more to them if you are honest, and then when they “mess up”; they will be more likely to let you know that they made a mistake also. Then you will have a teachable moment for values. This is when a heart to heart talk, about the choices that were made or are going to be made, happens.
Teaching Children Values: Charity Work
Another way to help teach your child values, is to put them in the other persons shoes. If they come home with a story of some child getting picked on by others, remind them that the child being picked on has feelings. Remind them that the child that was picked on is someones baby, and how upset you would be if they came home crying because they were picked on.
Teaching Children Values: Expectations
Also, remember children will try to live up to your expectations. If you expect them to do the right thing in situations, because you know that they know what the right thing is, they probably will. We all, naturally want our parents to be happy and proud of us, regardless of age; your children are no different. Let them know when you are proud of their choices. It can make all the difference the next time your child is in the same situation and the choices they will make may depend on you.