As a parent, you may often find yourself worried to death about the future of your child and about whether or not you are doing everything in your power to provide them with the best possible life and education. As parents, we want the best for our children and we want to see them succeed in every walk of their life.
However, as we place importance on their growth and academics, we mustn’t overlook their personal development. Every parent should take an active role in instilling morals and values in their child, and given below are nine ways how you can do it:
1. Ask them to contribute to charity from their own money
Caring for the unfortunate among us indicates a sense of community and empathy, and what better way to do so than by donating to charity. To teach your child about the gift of giving, you would first have to teach them how to allocate their monthly allowance.
A good approach is to divide it into four equal parts, with two-fourths of it being directed towards whatever your child wants to spend on, one-fourth towards their savings, and the remaining one-fourth to charity.
2. Educate them about sportsmanship
Playing games and engaging in sports is probably a big part of your child’s life and it is given that during play they may sometimes win and often lose to their peers. Some children tend to be more competitive than others, and upon losing can be resentful towards the winning team.
If this emotion isn’t treated during their childhood, they may grow up to be fiercely competitive and revengeful. Hence, early on in their life, they need to be educated about sportsmanship. The most basic manner in how this can be done is teaching your child to wish “Good Game” to all his/her opponents after the game irrespective of whether your child wins or loses.
3. Practice what you preach
To fully instill good morals and values in your child, you need to actively practice what you preach. Parents are by default role models for their children, and children tend to judge the parameters of right and wrong through the conduct of their parents.
Hence, if you teach your child the importance of honesty but lie about their age to get a discount on their ticket in a movie theatre, your child may think it is okay to lie under certain circumstances and practice dishonest behavior in other ways.
4. Get them involved with the community
Getting involved in the community and volunteering will teach your child the importance of caring for the welfare of society at large. You must help them realize how unseen work from community members is important for our daily livelihood and should be appreciated.
Whether it is volunteering at the animal shelter, participating in cleaning drives, or partaking in clothing donation drives, your child needs to experience a myriad of activities that will help them engage with the community at large. Once again, you are your child’s role model and hence would need to lead by example.
5. Recognize and appreciate good actions
Simply educating and getting your child involved in moral instilling activities is not enough, rather you need to make an active effort in recognizing their expressions of value and appreciating them. Whenever your child does something good, label their behavior and appreciate them.
For instance, if you notice them trying to cheer up an upset friend, let them know that it was kind of them to do so. If they are upfront about something bad that happened at school or about their teacher reprimanding them for what they did wrong, let them know that their honesty is appreciated. Not only would labels such as “kind” and “honest” help them recognize the nuances of their behavior and understand what values are coveted.
6. Convey what’s good through stories
Children understand the language of stories and you should hence try to leverage the power of storytelling to teach good morals to your child. In addition to learning by seeing what’s in front of them, children also learn the nuances of right and wrong by stories and by deriving the underlying lessons.
Try to narrate ethical and religious stories to your child that explain an excerpt from the lifetime of an individual that your child can essentially think of as a “hero”. If your child is related to the lead and considers them to be ideal, any good that your story lead does will leave an imprint on their mind.
7. Hold them accountable
Accountability is the number one trait that allows individuals to understand morals and pay attention to the ethics of their conduct. By holding your child accountable for any wrong that they commit, you can rest assured that they will pay attention to the decisions they take in the future.
For instance, if your child gets into trouble at school due to hurting or bullying another child, be sure that you hold them accountable for their actions irrespective of the context of their conduct. That being said, you should also hear your child out in such cases, to ensure that an open line of communication exists between you both.
8. Monitor their internet usage
While there is a lot that you can help your child learn, there is quite a lot they may need to unlearn if they enjoy unsupervised internet and mobile phone usage. If your child watches television or surfs the internet unsupervised, they could be exposed to TV shows and films that promote rebellion and romanticize toxic behavior. Oftentimes, any character in TV shows that remains aloof or is “savage” towards others is considered to be cool and looked up to by audiences.
You wouldn’t want your child to grow up thinking of such characters as ideal as they would learn to mimic such behavior. Hence, monitoring your child’s TV and internet usage is of paramount importance.
9. Include learning in everyday experiences
Rather than lecturing your child every other day and out of context about the importance of morals and values, you should strive to include learning in everyday experiences. Not only would learning in this manner be more effective, but it would also teach your child to understand ethics in real-world situations.
The next time you and your child witness some exhibiting bad behavior, speak to your child about what could have been done better and how the situation could be handled differently. If you child does something bad, instead of reprimanding them, have a conversation with them about their choice of action, and why they should have made the right choice.
The moral values you instill in your child at an early age are likely to stay with them for the rest of their lives. When children aren’t introduced to ethical decisions and societal values at a young age, they tend to grow up to defy moral norms and often believe in grey rather than believing in black and white.
Hence, as a parent, teaching your child moral values should be a priority in addition to focusing on their academics and extracurriculars. The above-mentioned ways are proven effective in instilling morals and values in children, and parent should make a conscious effort in doing so.