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How to Build Relationships With Children Based on Values & Ethics

by Martha Holden

One of your biggest responsibilities as a parent is to teach your children values and ethics. To accomplish this role, build your relationship with them on values and morals. While you need to be a friend to your kids, a relationship based on values and ethics ensures that children understand your place as a parent. You can model admirable values and ethics for your children through the way you relate with them.

Think Ahead

Think ahead of the present and realize that while your kids are small and cute now, soon they will be adults. You need to view your children as adults-in-the-making, and build a relationship that molds their character that you want to see in their adulthood, according to Thomas Lickona, a contributor in the Catholic Education Resource Center’s website.

Take time to think about the type of woman or man you would like your little daughter or son to be, and then integrate the values and ethics that they will need to be such adults in the way you relate with them. For example, if you want your kids to be kind adults, start incorporating empathy, fairness and concern into your relationship. If you want them to be fair to their neighbors and co-workers, include open-mindedness and respect in your relationship with them.

Set an example and remember that children mimic their parent’s behaviors, and they are likely to act just like their parents as they grow to adulthood. Treat your children the way you want them to treat you and other people in future.

Teach Love

Speak your love to your children, and use every available opportunity to illustrate it. Love is an important aspect to nurturing children.

Tell your children that you love them and act like it to teach them the importance of love as a value. They will in turn learn to express their love towards you and cultivate a relationship based on love with you.

Teach what it means to love unconditionally by demonstrating it to your children. When your child is wrong, correct her and make sure she knows your love towards her does not change because she has disappointed you. She will also learn to love you unconditionally as her parent even when she doesn't get her way.

Model Honesty

Embrace your role as a parent to model honesty. Honesty between you and your children enables you to build a relationship based on trust. Scare tactics come to bite you back, so it’s best to be honest with your kids. For example, if your child doesn’t want to sleep in his bedroom, don’t lie that there is a ghost in your room.

Teach your child to have an honest relationship with you by being truthful yourself. For instance, if your child starts throwing tantrums just as you are about to leave, don’t lie to him that you are going to buy him a toy when you are not. Telling him the truth in all situations teaches him to do the same with you.

Pick some of their day-to-day actions and words to point out lessons about honesty. Kids are going to stretch the truth from time to time, but they need to learn that even when it is with good intentions, a lie is bad. For example, when your child lies he is sick and can’t go to school, and later admits he did it because he wanted to be with you, let him know that it is still wrong to lie.

Exercise Fairness

Practice fairness in the disciplinary boundaries you set for your children. For example if your child leaves home without your permission, investigate why she did it and explain why it is wrong before instilling discipline.

Teach your children that their actions and decisions have consequences, and good behavior is applicable all the time and everywhere. Don’t let your child get away with bad manners in a restaurant for fear of tantrums. However, explain how you expect them to behave in a restaurant and behave the same, and don’t punish them for things they didn’t know were wrong.

Model fairness in the way you reward good behavior and punish mistakes. For example, if two of your children talk back to you, administer equal punishment instead of making excuses for one as being younger. If they get it right next time, applaud and reward them in an equal measure.

About the Author

Martha Holden began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous publications. Holden holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Houston.

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