Building Your Child’s Character

One of the most important jobs you do as a parent is build the characters of your children. Building your child’s character ensures your child grows up to be a hard worker, caring individual, and honest person.

Implementing these ideas can help you successfully develop good character in your child

1. Provide specific verbal encouragement. When you give comments specific to a character aspect you wish to develop in your child, you’re providing your child with some subtle directions about how to behave.

* For example, if you want your child to value friendships and being a good friend, you could offer feedback such as, “You’re a very good friend to Sam because you let him go first when he comes over to play.”

* To reinforce your child’s efforts to be polite and understanding, let your child know you notice his polite and understanding ways through comments such as, “Wow, that was really nice of you to keep your cool when your sister took your candy.”

* When you want to instill honesty in your child, you could say something like “I like the way you were honest about not brushing your teeth. Let’s go brush them now.”

2. Volunteer together. Even young children can be taken to the homeless shelter to hand out sandwiches. Instill the value of helping others by introducing your child to volunteer activities. When you help others in the presence of your child, he sees that volunteering to help others is important.

3. Give separate consequences for being untruthful. Parents often struggle to figure out how to encourage truthful behavior. One way to extinguish lying behaviors is to issue a separate consequence for the act of lying itself.

* Technically, there will be times when you’re providing 2 consequences: a consequence for the untruth told as well as for the unacceptable behavior. For example, if your child told you he got his homework done and an hour later you discover he didn’t, you’d give 2 consequences.

* One consequence would be for telling a lie and the other for not getting his homework done. This suggested parenting technique discourages lying and encourages truth-telling.

* You can explain that “If you would have told the truth about not getting your homework done, you would have been grounded for 2 days. Now, since you lied about it, that’s another 2 days of grounding.”

4. Briefly discuss important traits. As a parent, you can teach patience by talking about how we all must occasionally wait in lines. Give examples like how you wait your turn at the grocery store or the doctor’s office. Explain it’s the normal way of things whenever there are a lot of people involved.

5. Model character traits that matter to you. Of course, the best way to build character is to demonstrate positive traits in the company of others. If you want your children to have good character, keep in mind you’re their best model. In everything you do, vow to “be the lesson” that’s best learned through observation.

6. Assign tasks regularly to each child. Set up tasks for your kids to complete on their own so they learn self-reliance. Then compliment them on how well they did. Reinforce their efforts with a look, a pat on the back, or a quick hug. Couple these things with your positive verbal feedback, “I’m so proud of you for sweeping the kitchen. That really helped me out.”

As you practice these methods, recognize you’re instilling a sense of morality in your kids, so they know how to determine what the right choice is.

You have the awesome power to build your child’s character. Take advantage of this power by using it wisely and your kids will enjoy these values and skills for their entire lives.

Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes

We all learn from our mistakes. Every situation is an opportunity for growth. Obviously there are certain mistakes you want to protect your kids from, such as playing on a busy road or sticking their hand on a hot burner. But in other situations, they’ll learn more if left to discover the consequences themselves.

You probably remember a time as a kid when you were corrected by an authority figure and wondered what the big deal was. After all, wouldn’t you have figured out the situation on your own? As a parent, you can learn from this and assess when to step in and when to stand back.

Consider these points to help you be more patient and accepting of your children’s mistakes:

1. Children are children. Because of a child’s age, coordination, lack of judgment, or simplified thought processes, kids are not going to be able to perform a task the way a teen or adult can.

2. Children are works in progress. Because children are developing, learning and growing every day, each new day provides them with opportunities for success.

* Children grow and mature at their own speeds. One child may be able to make his own bed when he’s 5 years old, while another will struggle with this at age 7.

* Depending on the task, a child might be unable to do a job one day, but can do it successfully the next. For this reason, a parent’s patience is required when a child is attempting to complete an assigned job.

3. Sometimes when children err, they have a natural tendency to want to try again. Because this behavior shows perseverance and great effort, parents can reinforce these positive characteristics by simply allowing them to try the task again.

* Showing that you recognize they want to perform goes a long way toward building your child’s sense of self. Applaud your child’s perseverance in this case and tell him he can try again later.

4. Learning from trial and error is still learning. If you observe your child trying a task over and over again without frustration, he’s probably learning something on each try.

* Think about your own experiences of trying to tie shoes or learning to ride a bike without training wheels. The more you did it, the better you got at it.

5. There are other things more important than doing a job “right.” So what if, when your child is done making the bed, the bedspread is crooked? If you consider what matters most, you’ll come up with some characteristics your child demonstrates that you can be proud of.

6. Your child’s self-esteem depends on your reactions. How you react when your child makes a misstep shows him what you think and believe about him.

* When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, allowing him to err at something while at the same time, accepting him the way he is, sends powerful messages of unconditional acceptance and love to your child.

7. Provide encouragement when your child struggles to perform. Since most tasks have various parts to them, look for the portion of the task that your child did well. Tell him he did a good job on that aspect. Acknowledge the task is difficult and that he’ll eventually catch on and do the whole task well.

8. Avoid generating or expressing strong emotions related to your child’s blunder. It’s wise to remain neutral and objective when speaking to a child about his performance of a task.

* If you find yourself feeling frustration or anger about your child’s mistakes, it’s best to give yourself a “time out.”

* Later on, it will be helpful to examine within yourself why you’re experiencing such strong, negative feelings about your child’s actions.

Making it okay for your child to err will go a long way toward solidifying his sense of self and building his self-esteem.

If you consider and apply these ideas when parenting, you and your child will be more comfortable when they experience errors. Because of your approach, they’ll embrace life with optimism, perseverance and feelings of confidence.

This blog post is published with the permission from Personal Development Master. For more Personal Development Guide visit http://personaldevelopmentmaster.com