How to Raise a Child with Morality, Ethics, and Manners
Research shows that people from loving homes are more likely to step forward to rescue or help someone in need, while those from abusive or less loving homes are more likely to stand by and watch. Thus, the love, values, and ethics you instill in your child not only benefit your child and your family, but ultimately, the community and world at large – even when the stakes aren't quite so high. Where do you begin?
What You Need to Know
A 2-year-old can learn to make, “Please,” “Thank you,” “I'm sorry,” and “Excuse me,” second nature. A 3-year-old can empathize with other children. A school-age child can understand why stealing is bad. At almost any age, a child can grasp the benefits of helping others in need. If your child is behind the curve on any of these, it's not to late to instill these and other essential lifelong manners.
How You Can Help
- What seems obvious to you might easily go over your child's head, so don't expect that your child will automatically absorb difficult moral concepts from your psyche. Take the time necessary to articulate your values, judgments, and actions, along with their basis.
- Set a good example – act the way you want your child to act. Give back change when the cashier miscalculates. Give the other driver the right of way. Don't yell at the referee.
- Your child is much more capable of making positive, life-affirming choices if he has a good sense of self to begin with – help him discover the beautiful, powerful person within, so that person is always present to help guide him. Tell him often that you love him, and why. Praise efforts, triumphs, and good choices; be gentle with critiques.
- Studies show that steady church, synagogue or mosque attendance can be benefit children. If you attend, talk to your child about its history and its value. Allow your child to wonder, ask questions, and truly understand what he's learning. Even if you're not “religious,” you can teach your child tolerance of others' beliefs, and that disagreement does not have to mean dislike.
- Discuss with your child age-appropriate books on the subjects of morality, ethics and etiquette.
- Rehearse for the real world by playing games that present tough ethical situations and let your children walk through considering how they should be handled. Don't be harsh or judgmental – the aim is simply food for thought.
- Volunteer, and involve your children to help them appreciate what they have and better understand and contribute to their community.
- Don't always swoop in ready to protect your child from the consequences of his actions. Allow your child to make the sometimes necessary mistakes it will take to learn about responsibility, morality and ethics.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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