In Parenting

How Parents Can Instill Character Development

Character traits are the facets of a person’s personality. While personality deals with a person’s emotional and psychological self, character has to do with how they impact the world around them. It is the material with which they forge their ties to the community. A person’s character defines who they are when it comes to how others perceive them. Integrity, honesty, compassion, trustworthiness and diligence are different values instilled in someones’ character, all of which can be achieved with the correct character development. 

What Is Character Development

A person’s character development starts from the moment they begin to interact with others. Parents are the first to start the process of shaping a child’s character. Teachers and other family members continue the process throughout the child’s adolescent and teenage years. Exercises in character development can be used to help a child learn responsibility and compassion for others. While exercises are beneficial, the best way to instill character in a child is by example. Set good examples when making moral and ethical decisions will help build character in their children much faster than if lessons and examples are used with no reinforcement.

Character Development Worksheet

While there is not a set mode or method for building character, there are things that can be done to help ensure that children follow a path that helps them to build and develop good qualities. The following three qualities can help to start the process.

  • Discipline – Knowing right from wrong and being able to make the choice to act on that knowledge, even if it results in hardship, is one of the most important facets of character development.
  • Attachment – Learning how to attach moral thought and ethical reasoning to make decisions that impact their lives as well as the lives of those around them is a cornerstone of developing character.
  • Autonomy – When a person can stand alone and make the necessary decisions that prove their moral character is intact, it begins to show their true worth as a productive and upright member of the community.

It is easier to instill character development by setting good examples and explaining your actions as you go. Trying to teach positive morale and ethical behavior from a worksheet or textbook can provide useful information, but it does not give children a tangible example of how to put that information to good use.

Developing Character

As a child grows, they will have questions about how and why certain things happen in their lives. Many times, it will have to do with being picked on or bullied by others. It may also have to do with why someone is different or how they should treatment someone who is not so nice or pleasant to be around. Character development questions such as these are important when you are trying to explain to a child how are world works and that certain things are not always pleasant to deal with.

It is important for children to understand that even though the character and personality of those around them may be constantly changing, theirs must be strong and steadfast. Making the decision to always be as fair and compassionate as possible will make others perceive you as someone who can be trusted and counted on when things need to be done or a person needs assistance.

Character development exercises can help open a child’s eyes as to how their actions and decisions will benefit others. Give the child a scenario concerning something they may actually experience. A good example is confronting a bully harassing a classmate. What would they do? Their character will determine their response and whether or not they succeed at doing what is right. A child with a strong, moral character would assess the situation and immediately take action. If they know they may get hurt if a physical confrontation takes place, going to get help may be the next feasible option. Doing nothing is unacceptable to a child who has strong ethical values.

The Benefits of Building Character in Children

There is a lot of potential that could achieved from children’s character development. When children are allowed to learn from good examples, such as their teachers, parents and other family members who continually strive to be positive role models, their character will develop naturally. In schools and church settings, character development takes the form of citizenship and community belonging.

Raising children with positive moral character benefits not only the child but those who come in contact with them. Children who develop positive character traits look at that world as a place where they can make a difference. Instead of trying to force their way past others, they strive to help others move forward. They value teamwork as well as individual achievement. Children who are being raised to be upstanding, ethical adults who rely on their morals and family values when making important decisions will take into consideration how their actions will affect others once the decision has been made.

This type of positive character development encourages them to be role models for others, even if they do not realize that is what they are doing. Children will often take the initiative to help other kids in their class as well as their siblings. In some cases, this is done to get attention. In others, simply because the child has been taught that it is the right thing to do.

Not every child will grasp these concepts readily. It can take years of positive reinforcement on behalf of both the parents and the child’s teachers to get them to comprehend and understand the value of having positive character traits. A child’s environment will play a distinct role in how quickly they begin to understand and appreciate these concepts.

Ideally, when does character development start?

A child’s character development starts with their first interaction with other people. As an infant, they experience compassion, caring and a wide variety of personality and character traits. As they grow, they begin to learn by doing. They learn that taking a toy from another child is wrong and that the appropriate thing to do is to wait patiently or ask permission. A child also learns that physically attaching another child is unacceptable and that it is important to find other ways to settle disagreements and misunderstandings.

Lying and making up stories are two extremely poor character traits that children are taught to avoid at an early age. Children are taught that it is better to take responsibility for their own actions and accept whatever repercussions may result, than to blame their actions on others who had no part in what happened.

Children who develop positive character traits, either through natural role models and life lessons or through classroom learning, will succeed in many different areas of their lives. They will gain the respect of others and be considered for jobs that other people may not. They are often given more responsibility than other individuals who may not have proven themselves trustworthy or diligent enough to be considered for an important position.

Good moral character and positive family values can be developed in many ways. Setting a good example and talking to children about what is right and wrong are important. It gives children the opportunity to ask questions about things they may not otherwise understand. Parents who are honest with their children in teaching them that all things are not clearly defined, can help them understand that doing their best when making a decision is what is important. There will be times when there is no right or wrong decision. It will come down to what is the best solution for all involved. A person with good moral character will have the strength and capability of making that decision knowing that what they did offered the best possible outcome.

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