In today’s world, children learn to develop a moral compass at a young age. Children have an innate ability to determine right from wrong; and you, the parent, don’t need to be there in order for them to make the right decisions wherever they are. In most cases, when kids don’t choose the right decisions it is because they have chosen something else to do. But with a little help from you children can continuously make the right decision without you being around. Here are a few ways you could make this happen:
- Stay connected with your child. When your child doesn’t follow your lead to do the right thing, it may be because the child feels disconnected from you. We, as parents, love our children so much that we may not realize when they are disconnected from us. In the age we live in, there is such a strong demand to give attention to technology and other commitments in our day i.e. cell phones, computers, school, work and the like that we don’t realize the disconnect we have with members of our family. Take time out to turn off the cell phones, homework, and television and spend it with your kids to reconnect. It doesn’t have to consist of hours and hours of playtime even 15 minutes of quality time will do.
- Make sure the limits you set are reasonable and age appropriate. If your limits are too strict for the child they will feel like they cannot meet them and instead they will start rebelling against you. Train yourself to set reasonable limits with empathy. This means you stand by your expectations at the same time offering understanding that does appreciates the limits set for your child. This will develop empathy in your child and make the limitations more palatable.
- Be supportive. Give your child the support he or she needs to do difficult things. For example, you want her to make her bed, so you try to encourage, remind and motivate your child to make the decision to that every morning. In the process, try to be positive. In return, your child will see himself or herself as someone who is responsible enough to make their own bed every morning.
- Get your child to fix damaged relationships. When you instill in your child compassion and empathy instead of shame and embarrassment results will be more beneficial. Allow your actions towards him or her to be one of redemption and not of punishment. This will give her or him a sense of empowerment. Allow your child to come forward themselves to correct bad behavior toward others.
- Be an emotion coach. When kids don’t want to do the right thing there are intense emotions that are tied up with it. Empathize with your child so he or she learns that these big emotions can be regulated. Try to get your child to work through these emotions and get to the desired results. These emotions then evaporate and become less significant then the behavior that is expected and what is left behind is the correct behavior. For example, if a child has taken someone else’s toy and he or she wanted that toy very badly. Your child will have strong emotions tied up with the toy and let the child know that they may feel strongly towards the toy but the person that owns it will miss it just as much as they will.
This may be a lot of work but these are all good ways that your child will learn to help themselves to learn self-discipline. Repeating the process on a continuous basis will remind your child to become a better person early on in life and that will last with him or her into adulthood.