What are Moral Values?
Moral values are standards that help an individual choose between right and wrong or good and bad. This understanding is necessary to make honest, credible, and fair decisions and relations in daily life.
Moral development is an essential process that should start from early childhood. Children can shape a good character and a pleasant personality by following moral values. The child’s family plays a crucial role in guiding, supporting, and hand-holding them.
Why Teach Moral Values to Children
Imbibing moral values in a child will have the following positive effects.
- Helps build a positive character with traits such as compassion, respect, kindness, and humility.
- Makes the child distinguish between right and wrong or good and bad. It can eventually promote rational thinking and unbiased judgment.
- Provides a perspective that shapes attitudes and beliefs towards various aspects of life.
- Boosts their self-confidence and helps them stay positive even in difficult situations.
- Allows children to channelize their energies in the right direction.
- Works as a moral compass that helps them stay off the negative influence of peers, social media, or society in general, as they grow into teens or adults.
- Aids in setting high standards of social living that help develop society at large.
From early childhood to adulthood, moral development undergoes continuous evolution through the family’s support and guidance.
Be their role model
Preaching a child is of no use unless you practice what you preach. Children learn better by observing their environment. Set a good example by following virtues, such as honesty, humility, responsibility, and compassion.
Share moral experiences
Moral bedtime stories on topics such as honesty, justice, being helpful, etc., are good, but sharing positive real-life experiences is even better. Share such incidents from your life experiences to acquaint your child with those morals.
Help them practice their learning
Let children put these values into practical use. For example, show them ways to be humble by talking politely to others, helping someone needy, or avoiding bragging about their good deeds, etc.
Acknowledge good behavior
Reward good behavior appropriately. This positive reinforcement need not necessarily be a gift. You can discuss your child’s positive behavior with your family and share what your child did and its impact. When a family praises a child, it boosts their confidence and self-esteem.
Communicate clearly and effectively
Communicate moral values in a manner that is easy for a child to interpret. Simplify it into a language that a child can easily understand. You can use examples from the child’s life and teach them the moral values behind it and their possible impact.
Intelligent use of media
Media and its impact on children and teens can be positive or negative. Navigating your child’s exposure to the media could help the child derive useful moral learnings. For example, you can watch a movie with your child or read an article on the internet that reflects high moral standards and positive effects. You can try this with older children.
So, what are those essential moral values that children should learn?
8 Moral Values Children Must Learn
Here is a list of moral values that parents should try to instill in their children.
Gratitude is the readiness to show appreciation and thankfulness for what you have. It begins with contentment. Cultivate contentment and gratitude in your child by teaching them to be thankful for what they have in life. Teach them to never take anyone or anything for granted.
Children read in books that “honesty is the best policy.” But to learn its true meaning, they need to practice it continuously. A child can nurture honesty by being truthful towards their parents, teachers, and others around them. Acquaint the child to the fact that it is always best to accept a mistake with honesty instead of lying to cover it up. Show them how they can begin with small steps, such as being honest with their teacher and classmates.
Sharing is caring. Thus, a child must know the importance of sharing with those in need of them. Sharing is an act that should bud out of selflessness. You can teach your child to share their belongings/resources with others who might need those things desperately. Encourage the child to share their toys with their siblings and cousins or donate some books, food, and clothes to the less privileged children.
Empathy is considered as the capacity to which an individual can understand another person’s problems, issues, and concerns. It is like putting yourself into someone else’s shoes. To raise an empathetic child, you need to be empathetic to them first. Listen to their concerns, issues, and problems, and try to help them. Come up with mutually agreed solutions.
Compassion is the feeling of love and care that you feel towards others. It is a step ahead of empathy since you not only feel the other person’s feelings but also strive to help them with their problems. The development of this positive emotion will help your child develop positive relationships with others.
Cooperation is an act of extending help to others to attain a goal that is often mutual. Collaboration at home is the first step towards developing a sense of cooperation. Doing household chores together and listening to each other’s problems are some acts of cooperation that a family should follow. Such actions help a growing child think as “we” rather than “me.”
Young children should learn to respect every individual irrespective of age, caste, creed, religion, ethnicity, beliefs, and difference of perspective. It is a crucial step to develop healthy social and professional relations when a child grows up. Talking politely to the school bus driver or house help is an example that you can set for your child.
Equality is an integral part of several moral values, such as justice. Treating all individuals equal in terms of rights, opportunities, and status is essential for eradicating thoughts of supremacy. You can set the right examples by allowing your child to play with other children, irrespective of their social differences.
In the end, you want your child to learn critical thinking skills, especially in the times we live currently. But in order to do critical thinking, one needs a good set of values and attitudes to use as a starting point and reference. Moral values are connected to fundamental human emotions and experiences that motivate and guide us all.