Parenting is more than just putting a roof over your child’s head and ensuring they are well fed. It’s also about helping them grow up to be a good, kind person – one with the desire to work hard and succeed, a person whom other people want to be friends with. Exploring moral values with your child will help determine the sort of person they will become and it’s important to start young. These moral values will differ between families, but the core message and end goal will usually remain the same. I have teamed up with a private school in Surrey to suggest some moral values to get you started.
A child who understands the importance of respecting others, regardless of their age, gender, social status, religious views, skin colour or anything else that makes them unique, will have a good moral base. Remind them to say please and thank you whenever they forget and teach them the importance of apologising when they’re wrong. Encourage them to be open to new concepts or viewpoints rather than judging other people based on their own standards; teach them that everyone is different but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated equally.
One aspect of being respectful is to listen to others when they are speaking. This is a crucial lesson for your child in terms of their social and academic progression and even perhaps their safety. It will help them connect with others on a deeper level and allow them to empathise.
Try and practise gratitude on a regular basis. This doesn’t just mean saying thank you when receiving something, it’s also about having an optimistic attitude towards life rather than dwelling on things that might not be perfect. Each evening, when you’re tucking your child into bed, or perhaps at the table when you’re eating dinner, ask your child to share some positive things that they’re grateful for that day, even if it’s something simple like a delicious meal or someone giving them a lift to school. This exercise will encourage your child to see the good in things.
Encourage your child to never give up. Life is full of ups and downs and sometimes things seem beyond reach, but your child needs to know that unless they give something their all, they can’t expect perfect results every time. They must learn how to pick themselves up when they’re down and be patient with themselves, as nobody is perfect.
There are obviously hundreds of other moral values to explore with your child and the chances are, you’re probably teaching them many without even realising it, just by being a good role model. Don’t worry if your child slips up from time to time as this is perfectly normal, they are only human after all. Just be patient and focus on what’s important to you as a family unit.