Values and morals form the foundation on which your children shall grow. They dictate the manner in which they will interact with others, what they do, how they do it and even the kind of personality that they have. Since values are the basis of a large number of things, they also decide the nature of your interactions with other people and ultimately form a significant part of attaining success in life.
Explaining values to your children at an early age is essential since these values can be made strong at an early age. Values inculcated during early childhood have a strong grounding and are not likely to be shaken in adversity. These values shall hold your children in good stead when they face difficult decision that they may need to make.
One cannot teach values to a child be just talking about it. Children do not have an understanding or comprehension of abstract terms and therefore your words may sound like Greek to them. Values need to be explained in behavioral terms. This means that they need to be explained about the positive feelings that arise from behaving in a manner that is correct or in accordance with the value that you are teaching. Explain how wise decisions create a feeling of happiness and satisfaction and how wrong ones leave you feeling uncomfortable and unhappy.
You can also help this process by trying to create and encourage positive emotions in your child every time that he does something good. For example, when your child tells you that he shared his lunch box with a friend who had forgotten his lunch box at home, you should encourage such behavior. After that you should also explain what your child must be feeling. ˜When you share your things with other people and make them happy, you feel satisfied, don’t you?’ Encourage your child to also discover such positive feelings that he may be feeling and ask him what he feels “ ˜What else do you feel about it?’ Try and mention the good behavior of your child that is in line with your values to the family so that he can feel proud about it and know that such behavior is appreciated and respected by his family and friends.
Make efforts to mention to your child how happy, proud, lucky, overjoyed you are, every time he behaves in a manner that depicts moral values. Make sure that you also show your disapproval of behaviors that are not in line with good behavior. Be careful that while making negative remarks the focus of your emotion should be on the act conducted by your child and not the child himself. Reassure him that though he is loved, when he is careless with his toys, you feel hurt or sad. This ensures that the child does not feel dismayed and knows that his parents still love him and if he does not exhibit bad behavior he will be appreciated once again.
Also always remember to give positive feedback in front of a few other people to encourage it further and negative feedback in alone to avoid undue embarrassment for the child.