Instilling Virtues; Vital steps for building character in your kids

Raising a kid is no piece of cake. Apart from looking after their physical well-being, parents are also responsible for helping them instill good values at an early age. Values are the only things that your child will carry with them for the rest of their life. It is extremely important for a caregiver to start this work from an early age so that it stays with their child.

Sure, schools and teachers play a big role in character building. It is a structured part of the curriculum in some schools. Values such as honesty, respect, fairness, responsibility, accountability, and integrity are all vital for both the community and the children. You should know that character-building always starts at home. There is an interplay of many aspects such as teachers, family, and even the community on a child’s perception of values and their ultimate character.

It would be quite easy if kids grew into good characters without having to reinforce and do intentional teaching, but that is definitely not the case. There are a few tricks that you should use during opportunities that give you a chance to build your child’s virtues. The gratification and joy derived from this are unparalleled by anything else. We have curated a list of ways to help you instill important values in your children.

Be a good role model

The most powerful weapon in your arsenal is being a good role model to your child. When you are able to exhibit qualities of a good character in front of your children, they will find it easier to pick up on these values. Modeling and imitation are two of the most powerful techniques in psychology for behavior modification.

When you model the actions and choices that you would like your kids to make, it makes a huge impact on their perspective. If you show that you as a person are compassionate, honest, fair, and respectful, your kid will follow in your footsteps. It is essential that they see this in your everyday actions and do not just hear the words from you. This will also help them to see how such behavior brings about satisfaction, peace, and joy in a person.

Moral development is highly influenced by the role models that children have. Remember to use empathy in your parent-child relationship so that your children understand your love and care for them. This will only be a motivating factor for character development later on in their lives.

Use literature and life stories to help inculcate values

You should know that teachers and parents used to teach kids moral lessons, long before any books were invented. This means that even the life stories that you tell your child will have a great impact on their moral development. Instead of watching cartoons, take out some time to read books and lessons filled with ethics and values to your child at least 3 times a week.

Fathers who are part of the Men’s Ministry can even teach the same things to their children since it inculcates a good sense of character among people. Using life stories and even children’s literature that have hidden lessons is a great way of doing this. Pay attention to their stories about school life and help guide them in the right direction. Even when you tell your stories to other adults in front of your children, it has a huge influence on their values. This is why it is important to stay mindful of what you say around them.

Use teachable moments

All families have certain ethics and values that are common among all members. Your children should understand that when they violate the family’s trust and guidance, there will be consequences that will be applied with dignity and fairness. It is important to use certain discipline strategies to help build character in your children.

Never skip out on an opportunity to correct your child’s behavior if it goes against their instilled values. Do not be harsh, but remember to be firm. In order to practice this, you will have to be clear on the values that you wish to instill in your kid. Always use an appropriate consequence for each behavior.

Teach them how to make amends

The best consequence for going against certain values is by making your child own up for their mistakes. It is important that they learn the art of making amends soon in life. For example, if your child is dishonest, the best way for them to make amends is by being accountable for their lies. Sometimes, all they need to do is apologize for the hurt they’ve caused, while other instances require them to take action to right the wrong that they did.

Direct instructions are the best way of avoiding miscommunication between you and your child. For example, you could tell them, “Our family believes in honesty. Was it right of you to take your sibling’s toy and say that you didn’t? How would you make it right if you had the chance?’ Such a sentence leaves no room for misunderstandings or errors.

Provide ample opportunities for them to practice

Go back to the days when you were a child. The things that come naturally to you now were actually reinforced quite a lot before they became so usual for you. Just like this, kids need to practice something before it starts coming naturally to them. Sure, vicarious learning is a huge factor in teaching good character to students, and hearing lessons can help them learn directly. But without any hands-on practice, it can be quite hard to implement these values.

When your child gets the opportunity to make any decision, you can help guide them into taking ethical action. When this brings about positive changes in their lives, they will understand how important these values are. You can even get your children along when you help out in different social and community contexts.

Teaching your child good values is quite an important task. This can only be done when you reinforce it in a positive way so that they inculcate these values for the rest of their lives.