7 Expert tips for parents on instilling moral values in kids

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Childhood is the best time when you should instil moral values in your children. What are the best ways to go about it? Here are top 7 tips for you that we have distilled from the wisdom of experts.

Childhood is the most impressionable age. It is the time when a child’s basic personality is shaped. That’s why it is the best time to instil moral values in him or her, because children don’t pick up such values on their own.

It is the duty of us parents to shape the moral universe of our children. The challenge is how to do it without making it a boring exercise, because children get bored so easily.

Children also don’t like to be lectured about anything. But if you can teach them things in an engaging way, with a little fun and entertainment thrown in, chances are they will listen to you.

Here are some expert tips on how to instil good values in your children.

Take the responsibility to teach your children values

Parents, YOU should take the responsibility to instil values in your children. Don’t leave it to someone else.

We all know that decency, honour and not being selfish are good values but children won’t learn these values on their own. You have to teach them these values.

Left to their own devices, a child will not learn these values. For example, you don’t teach your children to lie, cheat, steal, or be selfish or be disrespectful and yet they learn to do these things on their own. That’s why we must teach our children to say, “Thank you” and “Please.” Else, they will instead say, “Give me this and give me that! That’s mine!”

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Teach real values from real life examples

As they say, life is the biggest teacher. You will find many examples in life that will give you an opportunity to talk about moral values with your children.

For example, if you are playing a game of chess, and if your child only focuses on gobbling up the loose pawns on the board, he may forget about going for the checkmate (the real objective) and lose out on the big game.

The value you can teach him or her (taking the game’s example) is that if you are not focused on your goal, you may forget about the bigger goal in life and get distracted by minor things or things that look easy to conquer.

Live by your own values

You have to be the role model for your children. I know it’s tough but that is the reality. Children learn the most from their parents as they trust them and spend most of their formative years with them.

For example, if you talk about honesty but lie about their age to get a cheaper ticket into a park or a facility, they learn that cheating is okay under certain circumstances.

So, do your best to follow your own values, and allow your children to see how following those values benefits you and them. Show them the importance of the values you espouse!

Talk explicitly about values and their importance

Today, we are living in very complex and multicultural societies. So, it is very important to explicitly talk about the values that you want to impart to your kids. Talking to them about values such as integrity, your obligation to your neighbours (whether he looks like you or not) and respecting elders is an absolutely essential duty of parents.

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Teach your children good sportsmanship

We see a lot of competition in life, and it seems more rife than ever. How do you teach your kids to handle life in such a world?

For example, take the game of soccer. If you tell the kids that soccer is about fun and skills and exercise and teamwork, but your first question after a game is about who won the game, what will they learn? They’ll learn that winning is more important than anything else.

So, teach your kids good sportsmanship. Teach them to play a good game--winning and losing are both part of it.

Teach them values of citizenship and community services

Teach your children the values of citizenship and community service. Volunteer for community service projects as a family and let your children take part in community activities (for example “A charity drive” for a charity with his or her school friends). These are good starting points to instil values of community service in kids.

Expose them to the right media

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Children are constantly exposed to media because of the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices these days, and most children like to listen to stories and to watch movies. That’s why all children’s stories contain moral lessons.

Today, movies made for children are doing the same job effectively. It is the most fun way to impart values in your children. So, bring your kids to the right movies that teach them the right values. A good example is the movie, Ferdinand.

The movie is based on Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson's children's book The Story of Ferdinand and directed by Carlos Saldanha, and stars the voices of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, and David Tennant.

Ferdinand (John Cena) is a Spanish Fighting Bull who prefers smelling the flowers and practicing non-violence rather than chasing red cloths held by matadors in arenas. But when disaster comes to him, he is taken to a fighting stadium, and Ferdinand needs to decide if he is a fighting bull or a flower smelling, generous bull, in order to earn his freedom.

Bring your children watch this cool movie with a great message (don't judge a bull by its cover). It is hitting the theatres on 14 December. Your kids will love it as it is already the year-end, the peak of school holidays and they would be in the mood to have fun!

Check out Ferdinand Trailer and log in to 20th Century Fox Malaysia FB for more info.

So, mums and dads, we hope the above-mentioned expert tips would help you with one of the most important aspects of parenting: shaping the character of your child!