How to Build Strong Character and Integrity in Kids
As a parent, you want to cultivate a strong, independent child. One of the first places to start is guiding their moral compass. Show them the foundations of right and wrong, and lead them to making good decisions for themselves.
What Is Integrity?
In a nutshell, integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. This means that you have a high moral standard and choose to do right over wrong because of the principle of the matter. You aren’t doing an action because you want praise or you want to avoid punishment. You are doing it because you want to do what is right.
How Does It Apply To Life?
Let’s say that a cashier isn’t looking, and you see your favorite candy on the shelf. You don’t have enough money to pay for it. What do you do? Do you take it because you want it and she’s not paying attention, or do you leave it because you don’t want to steal? Taking something that isn’t yours, no matter how small or cheap, is still stealing. When your child is older, it can be tempting to copy someone else’s work and claim that it was your own. Instill in them a strong character early on in life so that cheating isn’t an issue later on in life.
It doesn’t only apply to you and your actions. If you see someone else who is doing the wrong thing, you should stand up and do the right thing. If someone is being made fun of at school, don’t walk by and ignore it. Stand up for the other kid, and tell the bully that’s they shouldn’t speak that way about others. It’s hard to put things like this into practice because it means that you might not be liked or someone might make fun of you. How you feel in the moment isn’t as important as doing what is right.
As adults, we obey traffic laws even when there aren’t cops out, and don’t plagiarize our work at our jobs even when the boss isn’t there. There are lots of things that we may want to do, but we stop ourselves because we know it’s not the right thing to do.
Put Your Words Into Action
One of the best ways for your child to learn what is right and wrong is to watch what you do. Don’t just talk to them about what they should and shouldn’t do. Put your words into action so that they can see what it looks like to live with integrity. As you live out your words, explain to your kids why you are doing what you are doing. Ask them moral questions to get their brain thinking.
The last piece of integrity is having the courage to stand up and do what is right, even when it’s unpopular. Teach your kids how to be assertive, yet kind while they express what is right to others. Nothing warms a parents heart more than to watch your kid grow and learn how to teach others with respect and integrity.