our everyday life

How to Teach Morals to Children

by Laura Agadoni, studioD

Children, if left to their own devices, can act like little savages. It’s your job as a parent to guide and mold your child to fit into society. Teaching morals is part of the process, and doing so is perhaps your most important role. You have the power to teach your child to make life in society better by teaching him to be responsible and to be a good, kind, hardworking and honest person.

Be a Good Role Model

You need to demonstrate moral behavior if you want to teach it. Be the person you want your child to be. Set clear rules and standards of behavior around your house so your child will know what is right and wrong. Always speak to your child in a respectful way, even when you are disciplining, and expect respect in return. You both might feel anger toward each other from time to time, but no one needs to yell or name call. When you discipline, do it with fairness, gentleness and consistency. Explain to a young child the reason you are disciplining. When your child gets older, you can ask for his opinion on consequences for breaking rules. A child who is given a voice becomes a teenager who can think for himself.

Read and Watch TV with Your Child

Use the world as examples to teach morals. Read age-appropriate books and watch suitable TV shows with your child, and discuss what happened. A young child, however, should not watch a TV show with sex or violence. There’s often a tale to be told from stories and television shows that provides an opening for a conversation on morality. If a character did something wrong, for example, ask your child to tell you what the character did that was wrong, and ask how your child would feel if something bad were done to him. This teaches empathy. Criminologists have noticed that kids who get in trouble cannot feel empathy, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website.

Work for Rewards

It’s usually easier for parents to just do chores around the house themselves, especially when the alternative is asking a preschool child to help. But giving a child a job to do that is suitable for his age helps teach responsibility and the value of work. A preschool child can help set the table and clear it after dinner, for example. If your child refuses, take away a privilege. An older child can volunteer to help in the community at a homeless shelter or a pet rescue, for instance. This teaches selflessness.

Love Your Child

If you show your love for your child, he is likely to have a higher moral level of development, according to the Ohio State University Extension. Being hostile toward your child and punishing in a mean way does not teach morals. Your child might stop the bad behavior, but only until you leave. Your child will be more likely to identify with you and to learn from your example if you behave in a loving way, even when disciplining. Feeling connected to a parent gives a child the power to hold onto his values, even through peer pressure.

About the Author

Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.

Photo Credits

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