Teaching Your Children Ethics Ethically
My First Grader Right Or Wrong. Ethical tips and traps for parents.
What You Need To Know
First graders can be inflexible about rules. Also, they may not be able to distinguish intent – was something an accident or a deliberate act? Teaching right and wrong can be challenging for parents. Here are a handful of teaching suggestions as well as a couple of banana skins to avoid.
How You Can Help
- Behave. Nothing will have a greater impact on your first grader’s moral compass than seeing you pick up trash, give up your bus seat for a senior, or fill in your census form. Similarly, if you tell a telephone marketer that you’re just a guest staying at the house, your rule-obsessed first grader may learn that lying is acceptable.
- Praise. Most of us, including children, can recognize the difference between good actions and bad ones. Praising the good actions performed by your child is even more important than punishing the bad ones. Make learning a positive experience.
- Reading. Using fictional characters to discuss right and wrong can be a neat way of dealing with this issue. “What do you think Dora felt when her parrot was stolen? What would you feel if you were Dora?”
- Repeat. Moral decisions aren’t always clear for first graders – there can be a lot of confusing messages. Be patient, some subjects may recur.
- Stand fast. Although explaining your decisions is really valuable for children, parents need to stick to their decisions. “I know the lady in the yoga pants knocked into you with her shopping cart, Lucy. It’s great that you know she shouldn’t have done it. But that doesn’t mean you can retaliate. I’m sure it was an accident.”
People learn the basics of right and wrong at a very early age. They learn it mostly from their parents. Before they start to share their values, parents should consider their own family experiences. What would you like to have learned from your own parents? How would you like your child to think about right and wrong?
For more information on learning right from wrong, please see the full article:
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