Just like other areas of life, parenting has changed significantly over the last few decades. The way we raise our children will be much more different than the way our parents raised us, not to mention the way our grand-grandparents raised our grandparents. As much as society has changed, there are certain traits and lessons that know no boundaries, and moral lessons for kids are among them. Even though children these days have childhoods that differ significantly than the childhoods the previous generations have had, there are important life lessons for kids that every parent should pay attention to if they want their children to be able to recognize right from wrong in the future:
Majority of parents feel that “I love you” goes without saying, but it’s important to keep saying that over and over and over again as this is one of the most valuable life lessons for kids. Sadly, parents tend to forget to remind their children of this significant fact, as time goes. A lot of children start having self-esteem issues as they grow because they’re not sure of their parents’ love, and you shouldn’t let this happen to your child as well. As they grow, they will understand that you truly do love them, and if you keep reminding them of that fact, they’ll be more comfortable to be true to themselves because they’ll know that you support them no matter what.
Sometimes when we make a mistake or feel bad, we tend to fall into a vicious circle of guilt and anxiety that makes our already bad mood a lot worse. Unfortunately, children aren’t immune to this, and once they start feeling bad about something, it can take a long time for them to feel better. Parents will understand the feeling before the children do, and it’s important to teach them to act accordingly if they find themselves in such situation. Teach children to be mindful of their own emotions and if they notice that they feel down, to act as they would act as if it was their best friend was feeling that way – take some time off, talk about that, and give yourself time to feel good again.
Teaching children obedience is important, but you should definitely explain that saying “No” from time to time is perfectly acceptable, especially if they can explain why they said it in the first place. Sharing toys with siblings and other children is important, but if there is a certain toy they want to keep to themselves, it’s acceptable not to want to share it with the others, but they have to explain it. Saying “yes” to everything all the time is exhausting and bad for the psyche, but when declining something and saying “No”, it’s important to be able to explain why they said it, and to do it kindly. It will save them a lot of trouble when they grow up and start dealing with peer pressure.
Many parents don’t hesitate to emphasize the importance of education and good grades, but sometimes, they forget to point out other things that are equally (if not more) important, such as kindness and gentleness to others. Being great sports, getting straight As, being a part of a team and participating in extracurricular activities are all great achievements, but you should also encourage your children to be kind to others. At the end of the day, what matters most is how we feel on the inside, and spreading love and kindness in this world is a great way to make it a better place. Treat others with kindness and respect and they will be more likely to treat you the same way, and this is a lesson your children shouldn’t forget.
Every now and then we want to be left alone and be a bit isolated, which is perfectly natural. Tell your children that the feeling of loneliness and solitude are two entirely different concepts, and explain that they are never completely alone, even when they’re sitting in their room all by themselves. Solitude can be a challenge, especially for those who are used to the company, but it’s also beneficial for us because it teaches us to contemplate and meditate. On the other hand, no matter how long they decide to be alone, assure them that you’ll be there if they ever need you and that they can always count and rely on you. When they know that their parents, siblings, and friends are thinking of them and loving them at all times, they will feel empowered and at peace.
Sharing is a great part of our everyday life: we often share things with others, even if we don’t notice it. We share space with other people when we take the bus and walk the street, we share the park and the playground with other children and pets, we share the space with our family, and we share food during meals. We also share thoughts and ideas, and we share knowledge, which is what makes the world a bit better place. Show them how they can share more than just their toys – encourage them to teach their friends and siblings something: how to draw a flower or a dinosaur, how to read, how to tie shoelaces, and how to ride a scooter or rollerblades. Being generous is a virtue, and when you share things, you get closer to the others and strengthen your relationship with them – friends will be happy to learn something new, and younger siblings will admire you.
Being honest is one of the moral lessons for kids they should never forget, but parents have a hard time explaining this to children because they themselves aren’t always telling the truth. If you want your child to be honest, you should set an example and not tell lies. While this might be difficult at times, in the long run, your child and you will know that you can always count on each other to tell the truth. Small children can tell lies, especially if they feel like they’ll get into trouble if they admit the truth. If you catch them in one such situation, interrupt their false story, assure them that you won’t get mad, give them time to think things over and tell you what really happened. Even though there will be consequences (no TV or no candy), assuring them you’re proud of their honesty and courage is one of the best lessons to teach children.
Children love measuring and comparing things, starting from the superheroes with the best superpowers to how strong their parents and siblings are. They are even often asked by other people to say who they love best: mom or dad. Such questions are bad, and children might start comparing the “amount” of love their parents have and how they “distribute” it. Children who don’t have siblings might ask one parent to tell them if they love their spouse or them more, while those who have siblings will ask both parents which child they love more. Such notions and questions might seem harmless and even cute to some, but are actually toxic. Assure children that the amount of love a parent feels can’t be spent; assure them that they are loved unconditionally while you’re still able to love their other parent and siblings equally. That there is enough love for everyone in the family is one of the greatest life lessons for kids.
Good manners are wonderful, and if you instill them into your children early on, you can help shape them into pleasant adults and boost their social IQ. Always use “please” and “thank you” when talking to your child, and they will use it when they talk to others too. Show them what good manners are early on, and they will mimic your behavior as they grow: not littering the street, picking up after themselves, and addressing others with respect will make them stand out from others early on.
Children’s dedication and commitment are admirable, but as they grow, they start giving up on things they think are “too hard” for them. “You’ll never know what could happen until you try” is one of the morals for children they will greatly benefit from. Encourage them to conquer their fears and try a sport, a new game, a new look, a new toy, and to try to befriend someone new. Even when things get tough, they shouldn’t give up easily, because the best things in life come to those who work hard and aren’t afraid to try.
Parents soon realize how difficult it is to balance out children’s obligations and duties; there are so many activities and games to occupy their time that important life lessons to teach children can easily slip the parents’ minds. Remember that gifts, trinkets, and hundreds of hours of watching cartoons and playing video games won’t do your children much if you don’t make an effort and teach them about morals, honesty, dedication, and kindness. The list of life lessons for kids is a long one, but every parent should take time and try to instill some of those lessons and values into their children.