It isn’t enough to know right from wrong. Children also need to choose the right behavior even when the wrong behavior is very tempting. Even when they are pretty sure they won’t get caught.
How do children develop their own internal moral compass? They learn through observing the behavior of parents, relatives, teachers, religious leaders and others. They learn by experiencing the consequences of their own choices.
Your children won’t always make the right decisions. One mom found this out when her 13-year-old daughter ignored family rules by going to “stranger hook-up” websites and giving out her name, phone number and email address. Although this girl knew she wasn’t supposed to do this, the allure of all the positive attention was just too much for her.
Her parents decided to help their daughter by limiting these types of choices at least for awhile. When she’s more prepared to handle her cellphone and computer responsibly, she’ll have another chance.
Mistakes are part of learning and developing a strong moral compass. Your children will make mistakes. What they learn depends on how you respond.