As our children grow, it is important we teach them what is wrong and what is right.
Teaching children morality is crucial in today’s age because one’s environment can affect what they believe is right. It is also crucial for their physical, emotional, and social development.
What is Morality?
Morality is a skill that allows people to see what is right and wrong in one’s thoughts and actions. Parents must teach this concept to our kids, especially in their early years because several factors may influence their morals as they grow. It’s not difficult!
How Does Morality Develop in Kids?
Moral values in children develop at a steady pace from their early years to their adult years. Here is a short guide to help you understand each stage:
Infants do not have a clear sense of what is right and wrong, often following what their feelings tell them to do.
Once they are born to the world, babies unconsciously expect their parents to continue supporting them of what they need. Because of this fact, their sense of what is right and wrong is based on whether they are given what they need or not.
Once your child hits 2, your kids will realize that other people also need the same things they want. But, they do not know which needs are right and wrong.
If they do act to something they think is wrong, they will show guilt. It is also at this stage that they start learning about obedience.
Around this age, your child will slowly take in your family’s values.
If your family values order and acceptance, they will show it in their actions. They will also start recognizing the authority of adults and understand that each action comes with consequences.
When your kids reach the age of 7, they will start questioning if the adults leading them are always perfect.
They will also start learning what course of action they should take and ask to be involved with the rules. They will also be familiar with the concept of fairness, but they will also bend the rules if they see fit.
As teens now transition to adulthood, they will slowly develop their own moral values. They will look into the rules that have been imposed upon them and see which one is good for them or not.
They will also understand that their actions always have a consequence and they will assess how they will act, especially for their peers.
Parents’ Role in Moral Development of Children
Morality is taught best to children by the people whom they trust, love and share a strong bond with. Rope in your in-laws and parents to join in this crusade as well!
As their parents, here are some of the things you can do to help your child’s moral development:
• Begin by teaching your kids the basics of what is morality and show them some examples. Don’t make your examples complicated because your child may not be able to understand them.
• Encourage your child to act and follow what is right.
• Monitor your child’s emotions and agree with them because it will allow your child to know you share the same feelings as they do.
• Praise your child when they manage to support what is right and showcase good behaviour. This will allow your child to know that their actions are correct and help him know what you expect him to do.
• Practice what you teach to your children and serve as their role model. Even if you tell them to behave accordingly, if your actions do not show the same thing, they will not follow what you want them to do.
How to Teach Moral Values to Children
Teaching morality to kids is not very easy, especially because moral values is a very deep concept. Your kids won’t get their importance immediately unless it is explained carefully.
To help you teach your kids moral values, here are some tips to guide you:
• Explain to your kids why morals are very important to learn.
• Explain how each action they make can affect others and themselves. For example, if your child tends to bully their peers, you can say “If you keep bullying your friends, they won’t play with you anymore.”
• Give your child some examples on how they can determine what the actions they can do in a certain scenario. For example, you can ask them what they will do if they see their friends bullied.
• If there are bad consequences, there are also good consequences if your kids follow the right thing. Let them know this!
• As a parent, show through your words and actions that you follow your teachings as well. You should also be kind to your child so they will act the same way.
• When your child has questions, don’t hesitate to answer them because they can get confused with some terms.
• Get your child involved with activities that stimulate moral development.
Moral Development Activities
There are several activities which can help your kids develop their moral values. Games, for instance, can teach kids teamwork, equality and sportsmanship.
1) Hide-n-seek, tag, and shooting can help children understand how rules and regulations work, as well as sportsmanship. Children will also learn, through these group-oriented games, that rules are there for a reason and will help them avoid punishment.
2) For toddlers, playing games like tic-tac-toe can show them that you are not always the one in charge. The game will also teach how they are in charge of their actions and decisions. There will also be times that they won’t be told what to do.
3) Sports are a great way to introduce sportsmanship and teamwork. Children will learn that they need to give in to a greater cause in order for the team to win. Not every kid can hog the limelight!
As parents, we shouldn’t just focus on our child’s physical and mental development.
We must also help our children develop a good sense of morality by teaching it to them early. We must be a good role model for them to understand these values better and when they got it down, it will help them become good citizens in the future.
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