Achieving goals, perseverance, and willpower are definitely important in developing your child. It’s equally important to make your son or daughter a genuine ethical person.
Ethical dilemmas come up all of the time. Your kid may be asked to take drugs, make fun of a fellow student, or cover up for someone else’s bad deeds. Sure, while they’re young you can be with them most of the time. As they get older, however, you won’t always be there to guide them. You want your children to know and act on the right thing even when you aren’t around.
So, how do you go about doing this? This largely depends on your cultural and religious beliefs. I will say this. Although every culture has a different twist on basic ethics and morality, there are some unifying core beliefs that you want to instill in your child.
Your son or daughter should know that lying, stealing, cheating, is wrong. There are many situations where these principals can be applied. Your child may be asked by his friends to shoplift. Peer pressure can be a very powerful incentive. You, as parents, need to instill that stealing is wrong because it’s taking something that doesn’t belong to your child and hurting the person from whom it was taken. Ask your child to imagine how it would feel if someone stole their phone or backpack? How would they buy lunch if someone took their wallet?
Children may be asked by their schoolmates if they can steal answers from tests. This is a common form of cheating. Your son or daughter will be tempted to help their friends. Isn’t it good to help friends? Explain to them that they’re actually hurting their friends by allowing them to cheat. By cheating, the friend learns nothing. They will need to cheat again and again.
Instead, encourage your kid to offer to tutor the classmate. Your son or daughter will still feel like a help to their friend while not compromising their principles.
Lying is another thing that your child needs to internalize is wrong. It is definitely tempting to lie about embarrassing things or other circumstances that may get your child in trouble. While there are many aspects we can cover, here I will focus on teaching them to stop lying to you. Kids lie to their parents out of fear. Teach them that you will never punish them for telling the truth.
That doesn’t mean they can get away with anything!
They can still be punished for breaking the rules, but telling the truth may let you reconsider their punishment.
The important takeaway is that they can always count on you to never be angry or yell when they tell the truth. At the same time, be angry when they lie. Make lying and unpleasant experience while making telling the truth a more pleasant one.
Go ahead, lay on the ethics with your child today!