WISE NOTES FOR CONSUMERS

Teaching character takes time

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, August 29, 2018

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I have been a part of the Wise Coalition for Healthy Children which is led by Cook Children’s Center for Children’s Health for several years. The coalition’s vision is “All Wise County children have the opportunity to grow in a safe and loving environment free of abuse and neglect.”

The coalition wants to promote healthy family relationships and engage the community to build healthy families. Taking care to build character in our children and youth is a great way to strive to meet those objectives.

According to the publication “Building Good Character, Teaching Your Child Positive Values,” good character means having positive values and acting on those values. A person with good character wants to do the right thing.

Teaching your child good values is a wonderful gift for the future. Children with good character tend to be happier and friendlier and do better in school. A child with good character becomes an adult with good character.

Parents can take an active role in helping their child develop good character by providing feedback, direction and being positive role models for their children. Children learn character by observing adults around them. How adults interact with others are crucial lessons in your child’s character development.

Here are just a few tips that you may find useful for building character in your children:

  • Think about how your family already shows good character. Ask yourself, how do we try to be caring, fair, honest, respectful and responsible? How do we try to be good citizens and helpful members of our community?
  • Make a plan for building good character in your family. Post a list of family goals in a special place. Goals may be simple, such as: be quiet when someone is using the phone; or be honest if you make a mistake.
  • A regular mealtime gives families a chance to teach good character. This can be a time to share thoughts with each other. Children can also learn about their parents hopes for him or her and about good manners.
  • Point out examples of good character and talk about it whenever you see it in yourself, in your child or in others. Explain why you care about doing the right thing.

It is important to remember that building good character takes time. Working on it as a family can help make it become a habit. Look for opportunities to teach about good character every day. Many school systems teach character skills each week. Some of the character traits which are taught: caring, fairness, honesty, respect, responsibility and citizenship. Discussing with your child which character traits are taught in their classroom would be a wonderful way to assist you with building character at home.

For information on tools for effective parenting and to obtain a copy of the booklet “Building Good Character; Teaching your Child Positive Values,” contact the Extension office at 940-627-3341.

Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.

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