Having a child is the most exciting, yet scariest, thing you will ever do. Every little thing is terrifying in its ability to hurt your child, and then every little thing is incredible as you see it through their eyes. But the biggest fear all good parents have is: Will you raise them right?
Just like it’s your job as a parent to guide your child into everything from potty training to driving a car, it’s also your job to instill in them the right moral values. But which values are right and which are societal norms that may change over time? It can be hard to differentiate between the two.
Our youth is our future, though, and there are some moral values that are simply eternal, no matter what society judges as right or wrong. Here are some of the moral values that you should instill in your child at a young age.
The Moral Values that Never Change
The traits that we value begin to be instilled in us at a young age. The actions of the people around us, both good and bad, teach us important lessons. Sometimes we learn from examples of people with integrity and strong moral character; sometimes we learn from non-examples of people with lowly characteristics who teach us that what they are lacking is something we need in order to be a good person.
Consistently throughout the world and throughout history, there have been nine main values that have been proven to be part of those with strong moral fiber. Teaching your children these characteristics young can help them tackle the future, regardless of what it entails.
1. Love – Children learn how to act by observing those around them, and if they are surrounded by love and affection, they naturally become that way – at least until they are older and notice that their peers consider demonstrations of love “uncool.” But how you treat those you love will set the stage for how your grown children will treat their loved ones much later in the future.
2. Manners – Yet another way your children will model you is in your mannerisms. When you treat others courteously and as though they are worth respect, your children will do so as well. Teach your children to be polite and courteous. Teach them that differences – of opinion, of skin color, or religion – are simply things that make life interesting and teach them to value those differences and respect them to create relationships.
3. Honesty – Your child is very intuitive by nature. He or she will begin to quickly pick up little white lies or blatant lies that you tell them or others, and then simply being around other people will help them learn the ease of lying as well. It’s your job to teach them the importance of honesty by being supportive of them when they mess up but are honest about it and by modeling truth and honesty.
4. Persistence – When we learn new things, they don’t always come easily. By human nature, we may want to give up when things don’t go our way the first or second time. The fear of rejection and failure can hurt. Teach your child to persevere until they have the result they want if it’s possible, or to handle the reality if it’s not. They start to learn the trait of perseverance as early as potty training.
While determination is not something that comes naturally to them and it can be hard as a parent to stay persistent, don’t give up or get frustrated. You have tools that generations of parents didn’t have. The internet is a hotbed for advice, so when your child is ready to give up and you’re not sure how to push them through to the next level, find a site that will support you, like https://bloglingo.com/.
5. Gratitude – When we learn to be thankful for the little things, it’s easier to handle the bigger problems in life. Teaching your child that life itself is a blessing and to be thankful for things from the food they have to their friends and family is an important moral trait.
6. Compassion – Along with gratitude, compassion is an important internal moral value. Understanding that even if someone hurts you, it’s important to have compassion and forgive them, will help your child be able to work through the inevitable pain he or she will feel in their lives as others disappoint and hurt them.
7. Responsibility – Taking responsibility for your actions, whether they are good or bad, is an integral part of a strong society. When children refuse to accept responsibility for their bad actions, or when their parents shelter them from that responsibility, they blame others for what they did and never come face-to-face with the real consequence of their actions.
8. Humility – Responsibility and humility almost go hand-in-hand. When someone takes responsibility for hurting someone else, humility tells them to apologize. It doesn’t mean to be overly humble. You can still take pride in a job well done. But teaching your child to have humility makes it easier for them to say “I’m sorry” when they mess up.
9. Sharing – An often overlooked trait is the ability to be generous. Children learn at a young age whether they are expected to share or not. Some find this easier to do than others. However, it’s your job as a parent to teach your child the happiness that comes with sharing. You may choose to do this through modeling charitable donations or through other ways, but sharing is one of the traits that must be instilled early.
As a Parent, You are Shaping the Future
Each child has the ability to make the world a nicer, kinder place – or to perpetuate the negative that is also found. As a parent, you have the responsibility to instill the values that will help them make the decision to be kind and just. After that, the choice becomes theirs, but with your help, they will be on the path to making moral decisions.