Consider character traits like, integrity, honesty, punctuality, good manners, and patience. Don’t we all want our children to grow up having these characteristics?
How do we as parents accomplish this?
- Integrity, honesty, punctuality and patience are all traits, regardless of temperament or birth order, that need to be instilled in children from a young age.
- They do not just appear out of nowhere. If these traits have not been developed at a young age, through exposure and example, how can you expect it to be present in your child as an adult?
- Character is all about WHO and WHAT you are and how you RESPOND or REACT when no one is watching. It’s what you do when you know you won’t be getting recognition or acknowledgement.
Character through obstacles
As parents we often shelter or protect our children from obstacles or challenges, wanting to make life as easy as possible. Yet facing obstacles in life develops character. It affects your behaviour, how you respond in different situations and your attitude towards people around you.
It is the vehicle that helps to steer us through situations and is developed mainly through relationships.
Lead by example
Most importantly, children need to see character traits modeled in their parents. It is the parent’s duty to teach and re-teach these characteristics.
Good morals are caught not taught! Parents model honesty and provide children with a safe environment to be vulnerable.
You could be raising the next president! What qualities would he/she need to fulfill that role? What can you do to help prepare your child for life’s pressures and challenges?
- For instance, how do you develop patience without ever having to wait for something?
- How do you learn what success is if you have never failed?
- How do you know what it feels like to work hard for something, save up and finally buy it, if you have always been given what you asked for?
For character to change, the following cycle needs to happen:
a.Ah-ha: This is an awareness that something needs to change
b.Think: Time needs to be spent processing the awareness
c.Decide: a decision taken to make a change
d.Action: an action plan put into place
e.Repeat: doing the new action over and over
f.Habit: this repetition of experience develops character
When you have developed the awareness, most parents often want to affect the changes immediately, but remember the process starts at A, not at D.