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Building Your Child's Character

As your children are growing up, consider imparting wisdom instead of just instructions.

Don't shield your child

Often when children grow up, leave their home and start forging a life for themselves, they do so based on their past experiences, and what they have learnt from them. So if you have constantly shielded your child, you can be certain that when you child is out there facing the world, she is not going to be prepared as you have not armed her with the tools of experience. But if you encourage your child to get out there and learn from her own mistakes, you can be sure that the lessons she learns will last a lifetime. And wouldn't you rather she made the mistakes now, when you are there by her side to pick her up, wipe her tears and help her move on, than many years later, when she is by herself, in another corner of the city, country or perhaps, world?

Teach your child how to say no.

Later on in life your child is certain to find herself in situations where it is difficult for her to say 'no' "whether to accompany a friend somewhere, to staying later at a party, to drugs, to alcohol, to drinks, to sex". the list is endless. Teach your child to say no at the outset. The next time your child looks at you and says NO loudly and vociferously, you may not like it at the moment, but don't be too harsh on her. Instead, think of her as asserting her individuality. Discipline her gently, and don't punish her for her 'no'.

Teach your child to do and be seen doing

There are various kinds of people in the world. Those who work hard, those who take credit for other people's work, those who work hard and whose work gets noticed by the boss, those who work endlessly like a peg in the wheel but are never noticed, and those who don't work at all. Raise your child to be a person who works, and who gets noticed while working. Don't pass comments like, "Rita only enters the kitchen when her in-laws are around, just to show them that she works so hard. What a hypocrite!" in front of your children. True, it is wrong for a person to work only when someone is out there watching, and it is wrong for a person to take credit for something done by someone else. But it is not wrong to work, and let people know that you are the one who has done the job. Although it may seem a little hypocritical at some level, there is also common-sense behind this piece of advice, and it will make a lot of difference to your child's career.

Teach your child not to carry fools on her back

Encourage your child to make friends with children who are as or more intelligent than she is. Although this may not always be possible, make sure that at least a large portion of your child's friends are of a similar intellectual level or have varied interests. It is only when this happens that your child will be encouraged to grow and learn more. If your child's best friend reads the newspaper everyday, your child will start reading it as well. If another friend takes karate classes, your child will be enthused about joining those taekwondo classes you have signed him up for.


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