What are Character Traits?
In order to understand which character traits are the most important ones to impart to your kids, it is important to first of all understand what character traits are. One particularly good character traits definition notes that character traits are essentially attitudes and beliefs that define how a person thinks and what he or she does. As the old saying goes, your reputation is what others think you are but your character (and the traits that make or break it) is what you really are.
Naturally, there are many good character traits that parents can impart to their kids. These include honesty, patience, generosity, integrity, optimism, perseverance, reliability and an adventuresome nature. However, it is important to note that some traits are more important than others. Following are the top five positive character traits that every parent should strive to impart to his or her youngsters.
Fear is an inherent part of human nature. While some kids are naturally more fearful than others, all children are scared of at least one thing, be it new experiences, big animals, loud sounds or imaginary fears that have no basis in reality. Courage enables a child to get over these fears and thus be able to live life to the full.
However, there is another aspect of courage that is even more important than the one outlined above. Children of all ages need to learn how to have the courage to do the right thing even when it is not popular or convenient to do so. Children with courage will be able to tell other children “no” when these children ask, beg or even try to threaten them into doing something wrong such as try drugs, shoplift or bully someone at school. The courage to buck the tide and do what is right will ensure that a child will grow up to be a morally sound, productive, fulfilled adult.
Kindness is a character trait that is particularly important for children to learn. As children get older, they should understand that the world does not revolve around them. They must learn to consider the needs of others and even be willing to put them above their own needs and wants.
There are many aspects of kindness and each one is important for kids to learn. Generosity enables children to share and/or give to those in need. Children who learn to be generous will not derive their happiness from possessions; instead, they will understand that true happiness comes from making others happy.
Unselfishness is yet another important part of kindness. Unselfish children look out for the needs of others and find ways to meet these needs.
Another aspect of kindness is kind speech. This means resolving arguments in a calm, friendly manner rather than yelling and screaming. Kind speech also means not gossiping about friends when they are not around.
Every child should learn to be honest with him or herself as well as with others. This means telling the truth even when it is not convenient to do so. However, it also means being honest regarding your abilities and/or lack of them.
A child who has learned to be honest will not feel that he or she has to put up a front in order to win friends. Others will naturally be drawn to such an individual and will love the child for who he or she is, not a false image that the child has created.
As was noted above, honesty also means telling the truth regarding situations and/or people. An honest child will communicate with parents regarding his or her feelings, thus enabling the parents to help the child with difficult problems that he or she may be facing.
No child will get far in life without self-discipline. When your kids are little, you can stand over them and make sure they brush their teeth, get in bed on time, wake up in the morning, wear clean clothes and do their homework. However, the older children get, the less you will be able to supervise them. Finally, they will become adults and move out. At this point of time, they will need to be fully responsible for their own lives and actions.
Self-discipline is essentially the ability to control your feelings rather than allowing them to control you. This very important character trait enables a child to make wise, mature decisions while growing up and upon reaching adulthood. Children with self-discipline know that it is important to finish their homework before playing and will do so even if parents are not watching. A young person with self-discipline will be willing to study, clean the house and eat healthy food even if he or she does not feel like it. Young people with self-discipline will also be less likely to get into debt than those who have not developed this quality, as self-disciplined young people know that instantly gratifying every wish or desire is not the route to happiness.
Studies show that children who have self-discipline are healthier, wealthier and happier than their counterparts who have not learned this all-important trait.
Most things in life are not easy to learn when you first start out. It takes time for a baby to learn how to walk and talk. It will take time for your preschooler to learn how to read and write. It takes time for children to complete a grade and it will take time for a university student to complete an assignment. It also takes time to learn job skills upon graduation.
Every single child needs to have perseverance. This character trait enables a child to willingly stick with a task until it is done. It not only applies to learning new things but also being willing to do boring tasks that seem to take a long time. A child with perseverance will know that failing once does not mean that he or she is a failure; instead, such a child will understand that it often takes time to get something right and will thus be willing to work hard until the solution is found, the problem is fixed or the task at hand is completed.
Perseverance also motivates a child to do his or her best. Children without perseverance may complete a task in a mediocre or sub-par manner as they are in a hurry to get it done and over with. However, a child with perseverance will stick with the job until it is done right.
Teaching Children Character Traits
Teaching character traits literally takes a lifetime. You cannot simply sit your children down in front of a character traits worksheet and hope they will learn and put these traits into practice. Instead, you have to model these traits for your children and then explain to them how you put these traits into practice, why they have helped you be successful and how your children can apply them to their daily lives.
What is more, you will have to repeat the above mentioned method on a daily basis. You cannot exhibit self-discipline sometimes and not at others. You cannot lie in front of your children and then excuse yourself by saying that you are honest “most of the time.” Your consistency will make or break the traits you are trying to impart to your kids.
It also helps to give your kids good role models. Show the children movies (and books) where the main character exhibit the traits you want your kids to learn and forbid them from seeing movies or reading books where children get their way by lying, cheating, stealing and the like. You will also want to pay close attention to the type of friends your kids have. While other children are naturally imperfect, you want your kids to avoid being close friend with children who put down the character traits outlined above.
What is a character trait? It is an attitude that defines a person. Having the right character traits can mean the difference between a successful, happy life and a sad, failed one; for this reason, every parent should strive to teach their children the traits outlined above. While doing so certainly takes a lot of time and hard work, the results are more than worth it.