Teaching moral behavior

We’d like our children to be kind, respectful and fair to others. However, those behaviors don’t occur naturally so how do parents encourage acting ethically?

Michelle Borba discusses this issue in her book Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing. She discusses each virtue along with ideas for how parents can help their children to develop each virtue. The seven virtues defined in the book are:

“1. Empathy is the core moral emotion that allows your child to understand how other people feel.

2. Conscience is a strong inner voice that helps your child decide right from wrong and stay on the marl path, zapping her with a dose of guilt whenever she strays.

3. Self-control helps your child restrain his impulses and think before he acts so that he behaves right and is less likely to make rash choices with potentially dangerous outcomes.

4. Respect encourages your child to treat others with consideration because she regards them as worthy.

5. Kindness helps your child show his concern about the welfare and feelings of others.

6. Tolerance helps your child appreciate different qualities in others, stay open to new perspectives and beliefs, and respect others regardless of differences in race, gender, appearance, culture, beliefs, abilities, or sexual orientation.

7. Fairness leads your child to treat others in a righteous, impartial, and just way so that she will be more likely to play by the rules, take turns and share, and listen openly to all sides before judging.”

This book is a terrific resource for ideas on how to encourage these virtues in your children.

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