How to Explain Ethics to your Young Children
Ethics is something that isn’t taught to children anymore in the school systems. It’s a very important quality for children to learn because ethics helps them to understand that having moral beliefs is very important and also teaches them that they should keep their word and not lie to others to fit in with the crowd. A child who has learned ethics at a young age, can continue to grow and still learn ethics as they grow into adulthood. Many people aren’t choosing religious schools to send their children to, so they don’t learn about philosophy and ethics at a young age. Religion is freedom of choice, yet this subject is not allowed in the public school system so parents have to take what they get when they enroll their children in public schools versus private schools or Ivy League Academies.
Parents can start to talk about ethics if something tragic happens in the news and if their child is ready to ask questions, this is a good place to start. If your child claims they don’t care, then it’s time to sit down and start focusing on their issues and why they should care. All parents would love to think their children are angels, but eventually, children start to tell lies, cheat and this is normal. It’s up to the parents to take over and teach them a good set of values and make sure these values are used daily.
Parents also need to understand what a good set of values are in order to teach them, and they have to be consistent when they have determined what their children should learn. There are a few good traits to look at when you decide to start teaching your children. Remember, parents, set the example so if you are not trustworthy, or sometimes don’t show respect, lack responsibility, don’t play by the rules, don’t care about others or continue to be a good citizen, this is what you are teaching your child. Those values are something you as parents should look at and set good examples and teach your children the basics.
It’s one thing to teach these values and another thing to enforce the values in daily life. There have to be consequences if your child does not respect these values. Parents should teach kids that good character is important and that their life will depend on who they are and what they believe in. This isn’t about the material things they own in life, it’s about following the law and not breaking the rules or boundaries you were raised with. A man isn’t measured by what’s in his wallet, but many people don’t understand that and judge other people.
Reward good behavior when your children are following the values you have enforced. Praise is a good way to start and sometimes is all they need and try and talk to them about negative behavior. Be fair when you dish out consequences and if they lie, every time they lie, they should be aware of the same consequences.
Make character an important part of your value system and make sure your kids understand that you expect them to be trustworthy, show respect, be responsible, fair, caring and don’t break the law. Throw litter in the garbage can if you walk with your child and explain to them that they could get a ticket for littering if they are older. Inform your children that their lives will be much easier and happier if they follow the laws and your set of expectations from your value system for the family. Remember, they are going to be watching you so don’t make mistakes and show road rage if someone cuts you off or disrespect an authority figure in front of your children. You don’t want them to fail in life. If you are at a park and your child can’t go on a ride because of height, don’t put something in their shoes to make them taller. They can wait until they grow more. If and when you do make a mistake, make sure you show accountability for your actions so your children understand because you are only human and make mistakes too. If you make allowances for little white lies, that means you are encouraging an occasional lie to be ok with you. You don’t want that or you are going to have your kids start slipping.
Ethics and teaching children about building a strong character takes time. It’s never very easy, and everyone makes mistakes so there is always going to be room for kids to improve. Face it, kids are going to make mistakes just like adults do throughout life. If you yourself are a bit confused about where to start, you can always pick your battles and choose what you believe is the right thing to do. It might take you some time but your kids love you and you are all they have so it’s time to grow up and start setting good examples in front of your children. Try to stay away from any situation that might tempt you to set the wrong example. For instance, if you are dying for a quick beer, don’t take your children into the bar with you. Most kids feel very uncomfortable in those situations, so put the temptations aside.
If you are short on cash and want your child to get a toy your promised and you decide to take it without paying for it, skip the temptation and explain to your child that they might have to wait until payday for anything special. You will feel much better about yourself and your own character if you pick the right choices. You also are showing your child the values you find the most important by setting the example and talking to your child.
Raising children isn’t easy these days, the world has different values and some of our politicians are not setting good values for our people. We elect them and put them into the office and we find out how they have taken advantage of the American people by either getting caught at spending money on personal expenses or speaking negatively about different ethnicities and people that have disabilities in front of the public people in the United States. This makes it even harder to raise a child with a good character if our own leaders are struggling with their character. Hopefully, times will change and people start thinking before they speak in order to save their character.