A person's character is an outcome of his upbringing. It is built on the foundation of life's principles that you learned as a child from your parents. In this world, when losing your morals takes lesser time than making 2-minute noodles, can you raise your children to have a natural inclination towards developing a good character? Well, it is quite a task keeping your children from all the sins of the world and making good human beings out of them.
Ways to Build Character in Children
Live By Example
It is true that children become what they see. If you are teaching them to follow certain principles in life but do not adhere to them yourselves, you are subconsciously teaching them to become hypocrites, cheaters and liars. They will develop a two-faced personality, which can become a risky trait in future for them as well as those around them. However, if you live by example, you will successfully motivate them to build a strong character. Remember, every child idolizes his/her parents. Also, when you talk to other adults around you in the presence of your children, make sure that you do not discuss any unethical practices you or others may be indulging in because, even when your child appears to be busy playing, they are very good listeners especially when adults are talking to each other. You will be surprised how your child remembers your conversations with others. Try to ensure that your entire family practices morality. Even older siblings have a deep influence on a child's behavior, so you must teach them too to live by example.
Teach Acceptance and Respect
Your children must understand early on in their life that everyone is equal in the eyes of God and that, we must accept everyone. Children who are snobbish, later become individuals who crib and are too rigid. They face a lot of difficulties to make adjustments and are never down-to-earth. Reinforcing values of acceptance and respect during childhood will help your child to respect others and their belongings as well your child's own belongings. Also, as we must accept one another, we must also express respect and compassion. This will help your child to avoid discriminating between other people and treat everyone equally and with respect. It is very important that the foundation of their personality is built on an important principle that is, "you give respect, you get respect".
Teach Cause-Effect Relationship
Learning early on "what goes around, comes around", can deter children from doing something wrong, from the sheer fear of its consequence. It helps to discipline your child and they are more well-behaved in their social surroundings. While an apology may make you think that your child is ashamed of his/her mistakes, your child may take it to be an easy way to get away with wrong deeds without really meaning it. When your child commits a mistake intentionally or unintentionally, you must correct your child as soon as you are made aware of it by teaching them the consequences of their actions and making them quickly rectify the same. Your child will be more careful the next time and will give a thought to his/her actions, instead of acting impulsively.
A great way to build character in children is by narrating children's stories to them as often as possible. They love listening to them, especially during bedtime. You will also get to spend more one-on-one time with your child while teaching him/her morals that would build his/her character and make him/her a better citizen of the world. Children's stories are filled with moral lessons such as trust, faith, honesty, justice, hard work, gratitude, generosity, dignity and faith that stay in their subconscious mind and influence their actions.
You can develop character in your children by teaching them that lying is hurtful behavior. Also, you must teach them to confess any lies that they may have spoken. This helps your child to learn to deal with his/her misdeeds, own them up and take an effort to make amends as damage control. It will save them from getting into hot water as they grow up and maintain a strong character as an adult. A good way of ensuring that your child is honest is by narrating the Bible or the holy book of your religion so the child comes closer to God. A spiritual person is always God-fearing and reverent, so they tend to commit lesser wrongdoings. Also, developing character in children like this will establish a strong conscience in them so they will start to subconsciously monitor their own behavior.
Limit Exposure to Media
While media is a great source of information, its major drawback is that it does not classify its information with respect to the age of its different viewers. Hence, I'd suggest that until your kid is into his/her late teens, you better keep a close check on the kind of media he/she is exposed to. Install a parental control on the personal computer that filters out websites that are viewable to your children. Also, keep an eye on the kind of sitcoms your child is watching. You should be doing this for your toddlers as well as adolescents because children have a sharp memory and quickly pick up habits from their surroundings. Telecommunication is another area that requires your inspection so you can prevent your child from becoming a victim of sexual solicitation.
Our childhood experiences grow on us as we mature into adults in later stages of life and often transform into personality traits. Smart parenting is not letting your children realize that you have been keeping an eye on them. Else they are bound to react negatively to it by expressing aggression and rebellion. Make your family dinners a compulsory part of your routine so everyone can sit together and spend time with each other. It will help you as well as your children to stay involved in each others' lives. You may have heard, "the family that eats together, stays together". Just as developing character is important, you must also try to promote emotional intelligence in children as these two qualities are very important to become a successful and a righteous human being.