Morals give us our sense of right and wrong, they enable us to be valuable, considerate members of society and they guide us on our path through life. The earlier that children are introduced to the concept of moral values the better as this lays the foundation that enables them to develop their own unique moral compass, allowing them to make better choices and live in a way that benefits themselves and others. I’ve teamed up with an independent school in Surrey to bring you advice on how to explore moral values with your child.
When teaching your child about moral values it is important that you practice what you preach, after all you are their greatest role model. If your child sees you treating other people with respect they will soon learn that this is the correct way to act and will follow suit. Make apologising for your mistakes a part of your family’s code of conduct. It is important that children recognise that an apology is not just something they have to do when they’re in trouble, it is actually about recognising you have made a mistake and wanting to make amends. If your child behaves badly, explain to them why this behaviour is unacceptable, how it makes you feel and the possible repercussions, this will teach them to understand that the way the act has an impact on others and teaches them the importance of accepting responsibility for their actions.
By describing your feelings after a disagreement with your child you encourage them to feel empathy, as they realise that their own feelings aren’t the only ones to be considered. Empathy is a crucial skill which strengthens social connections and prompts children to treat people with respect. Remind your child to treat people as they would like to be treated. If you encounter situations where your child is being rude or refusing to share with another child, take them to one side and ask them how they would feel if they were in their shoes. Often children don’t act badly out of malice, they just haven’t learned that other people’s feelings are as important as their own. By reframing the situation and getting them to consider the effect of their actions, you encourage them to be more empathetic in all situations.