Good character is more than just making the right decisions. More than just being kind and thoughtful.
Character must be driven by self-motivation and perseverance.
We must be willing to struggle ourselves in order to do the right thing. And we must understand that our kids need to see us in that vulnerable position.
As parents, how can we teach them to do good audaciously?
Lead by Example
Did you hear âDo as I say, not as I doâ growing up? I certainly did. And it was really, really frustrating.
I could see my parents doing things they shouldnât. And it made me wonder why I was different. Why they expected more of me than of themselves.
Kids will never do as you say if you arenât doing what you say.
Be the person you want your kids to be.
Let Them See You Struggle
Good character isnât easy for anyone. Doing the right thing is often harder than not.
It takes courage to tell the truth when lying could spare you trouble.
If a cashier accidentally gives you too much change, it takes strength to return the extra money.
When they see you struggle to do these things, they are more prepared to win against their own temptations.
Kids learn by imitating. Make sure they have great things to imitate.
Tell Them Exactly What You Expect
I am a fan systematic character education. I have used words like kindness, respect, cleanliness, effort and work with my kids like I would with any adult.
Only time and experience will help them understand the entire meaning of these words.
The types of words that successfully teach character arenât easily understood. I mean, I know full-grown adults that donât completely understand these words.
I teach them my own definitions of these words and help them experience these words through struggle.
I also make sure they realize that these traits donât exist in a vacuum. Honesty is impossible without self-control. Kindness is impossible without empathy.
Character isnât a list you check things off of. Character is a web that must have a strong foundation to build the other parts upon.
Let their Experiences Shape Themâ
I saw a viral Facebook post about a mom who was getting flack because she gave her kids real responsibility and expects them to rise to it.
People were calling her lazy because she wasnât doing everything. But thatâs the entire point of parenting.
We birth babies that are completely incapable of anything and over 18 years or so, have a responsibility to teach them to be whole, independent people.
They canât learn anything if we do it all. And quite honestly, itâs not fair or realistic to do it all ourselves.
As parents, we should be trying to work ourselves out of a job. Not just the practical things like dressing themselves or doing the dishes. Emotional and character traits, too.
We should be focusing on teaching young kids interpersonal skills. We should focus on teaching all ages how to identify and work through their complex emotions and the reactions that come with them.
We shouldnât think itâs our responsibility to keep our kids from feeling failure, anger, sadness, or struggle with their own instincts like avoiding work.
Instead, we should let them feel those things and teach them how to react, how to deal. For example, if a child wonât do their homework, itâs not our job to fill in the answers. Itâs our job to help them break it down into chunks that arenât so intimidating or to show them how to use the glossary or index to find the information they need.
This means that many of my discipline techniques revolve around experiencing struggle, then TEACHING my kids how to deal with it.
With knowledge, tools, and experience our kids are going to feel intrinsic motivation and will have a much better chance of being successful.
Hi! I am Ali, a homeschool mom who is passionate about science, managing my money and time well. Unfortunately, with an army of tiny faces, I am always still kind of a mess.
I was tired of not having a judgement free place to talk about money troubles with other moms. So I created one!
Click on the picture above to join my Facebook Group, Money Savvy Mommas.