After reading Dr. Helen LeGette’s book, Parents, Kids, & Character, which is a very nice book for every parent, here are
12 Strategies I believe will help Children Develop Good Character:
1. Model good character in the home. It is critically important that those who are attempting to influence children’s character in positive ways “walk the talk.”
2. Be clear about your values. Tell your children where you stand on important issues. If we want children to internalize the virtues that we value, we need to teach them what we believe and why.
3. Show respect for your spouse, your children, and other family members. Parents who honor each other, who share family responsibilities, and who resolve their differences in peaceful ways communicate a powerful message about respect.
4. Model and teach your children good manners. Whether the issue is courtesy or other simple social graces, it is in the home that true thoughtfulness for others has its roots.
5. Have family meals together without television as often as possible. Mealtime is an excellent time for parents to talk with and listen to their children and to strengthen family ties.
6. Plan family activities. Involve your children in the planning. Family activities that seem quite ordinary at the moment are often viewed in retrospect as memorable bits of family history.
7. Model appropriate behavior regarding alcohol and drugs. Nowhere is the parents’ personal example more critical than in the area of alcohol and drug use.
8. Plan family service projects or civic activities. At the heart of good character is a sense of caring and concern for others.
9. Read to your children and keep good literature in the home. Great teachers have always used stories to teach, motivate, and inspire.
10. Help your children develop an appreciation for non-material rewards. In today’s consumerist culture, youth could easily come to believe that image—wearing the “right” clothes, driving the “right” car, etc.—represents the path to success and happiness.
11. Assign home responsibilities to all family members. Even though it is often easier to clear the table, take out the trash, or load the dishwasher ourselves than to wait for a child to do it.
12. Set clear expectations for your children and hold them accountable for their actions. Defining reasonable limits and enforcing them appropriately provides children with a sense of security.