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Cayman Parent | Articles | Community | Raising Children Who Know Right from Wrong

Raising Children Who Know Right from Wrong

Raising children who know right from wrong is definitely not a science, and no one can pretend to say they have a guaranteed formula on how to do it. However, there is quite a lot that parents can do to help their children learn right from wrong and how to treat others respectfully. – Carol Bennett


Be A Good Example

Children are constantly watching those around them. They truly do “learn what they live”. Adults have to be good role models for the little ones in their lives, being constantly mindful that a child is learning right and wrong from us.

Allowing the child to see that you are human goes a long way. Letting your child hear you sincerely apologise to someone when you may have hurt their feelings or done something inadvertently wrong and then allowing the child to watch you correct your mistake, will help your child to understand that we all make mistakes and that we can correct them. Being a person of integrity yourself is perhaps the most powerful tool in your arsenal to help your child learn right from wrong.

Set Clear and Consistent Boundaries

Children need consistent boundaries in their lives. If expectations constantly change, and the boundary lines shift often, children cannot know what is expected of them. Adults should make sure expectations are clear, developmentally appropriate and that they address infringements of boundaries in a timely manner, using the same measuring stick that they used in prior situations.

Ensure Consequences Fit the Actions

Showing the child respect and treating the child with dignity helps the child to, in turn, do the same toward others.

One of the ways we can show respect to a child is to ensure that all consequences fit the action. Some consequences happen naturally as a result of the child’s behaviour. For example, if the child constantly hits a peer, the peer will be less inclined to play with the child in the future. Other consequences may have to be adult imposed. If a child steals a cookie prior to supper, an appropriate consequence may be that the child does not have dessert after supper.

Discussions using developmentally appropriate language should always be had with the child regarding their actions and the consequences. Support, guidance and even comfort should be offered to the child when needed. This may help the child to understand how their choices impact their own enjoyment and fulfillment. The child may be intrinsically motivated to make a more appropriate choice in the future.

Help Children Verbalise Their Emotions

Understanding emotions, and self-regulating as they experience those emotions, is quite a high level of skill that children need support to develop. This can help them develop empathy for others and understand how their own actions might affect another person.




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