Character Education and Parents : Making it a Priority
Parents are usually very busy. They work outside the home and then come home exhausted. Some parents may even work on the weekends and those who do not are often too busy with housework, catching up with friends, handling work matters and other such activities that they do not spend much time with their children. As the parents do not take the time to talk with the children, they naturally do not impart much, if any, character education. This is something that needs to change if parents are to teach their children moral values and how to implement them in their daily lives.
Some parents may need to adjust their work schedule in order to spend more time with their children. Others may need to get a different job or even choose another line of work. However, sometimes it is not large changes that are needed but small ones. Taking the time to eat together and chat over dinner can make a big difference. Turning off the TV and reading a bedtime story that imparts a particular character virtue is yet another way in which busy parents can help their children learn right from wrong.
Character Education and Parents: Setting an Example
Children will copy a parent’s behavior. If parents swear, then children will swear. Parents who speak ill of friends, family members and colleagues will find that their children will also talk badly of those that they know. Children will also copy a parent’s lead in matters such as smoking, drinking and taking drugs.
Parents who want their children to learn good moral values need to set an example of these same values. While no parent will ever be perfect, children need to see that the parents truly believe in what they are preaching.
Mothers and fathers who want their children to learn good moral values should look over their own lives and see where they are falling short. If these areas are plainly obvious to the children, then the parents should apologize to the children, explain that their poor example is not to be followed and then strive to do the right thing.
Character Education and Parents: Setting Boundaries
Moral values are not relative. They make a clear distinction between right and wrong. This means that there has to be consequences for doing the wrong thing.
Many parents believe that children will learn right and wrong on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. Parents need to not only actively teach right from wrong but also put consequences in place for when children break the rules. These boundaries give children the incentive needed to do the right thing.
Parents of toddlers and preschoolers will need to impose the rules and the consequences. Children who throw toys will need to have these taken away. Children who hit other children should be given a time out. However, as children get older, parents can no longer simply impose rules and consequences on the children. The children must be allowed the opportunity to talk about the rules and even help to choose the consequences for breaking them. Children who are allowed to help make the rules are usually more inclined to keep them than kids who are simply told what to do by their parents.
Making the rules with the children also gives parents the opportunity to explain why certain rules are important and must be kept at all times. It also helps parents to understand what children think about any given rule and if they even understand the rule that is being put in place.
A very important part of this process is to make sure that discipline is administered as promised. If a child is told that he or she will have to personally return a shoplifted item and apologize, then this consequence must be enforced no matter how much a child cries or tries to get out of it. Parents who do not enforce consequences are doing their children a great disservice and teaching them that the rules (and moral values behind the rules) are not really important.