8 Important moral values to teach your children

A woman and man sit at a table with two children, engaged in discussion about important moral values

Parenting is an on-going journey that is beyond looking after your child’s physical needs. It is also about nurturing his/her character and instilling moral values that will help your child grow into a responsible and caring adult. As a parent, it can be confusing as to what constitutes values, and why they’re important. It’s also important to be aware that all of us tend to steer away from them as adults but at least teaching our children these values ensures that we have set the foundation for their character. In this blog, we will talk about eight essential values that will help your child be a great person. We will discuss why these values matter and how they can shape how your child acts and sees the world. Let us explore what types of values should be taught as you see your little one bloom into an individual with his/her own ideas and thoughts. 

1. Honesty 

Honesty is possibly the most crucial value system one can have in life. Teaching your child to be honest is important as a lifelong trait. Being honest is similar to having a strong foundation for your character. And honesty is not just about telling the truth; it’s also about being open, doing the right things, and taking responsibility and accountability, even in the absence of someone expecting you to do this.  As they say: character is what you do when no one is watching and honesty is the core value which helps people build a strong character. When you teach your children to be truthful, it helps build trust at home and prepares them for the challenges outside. As parents, when you act honestly, it’s a powerful lesson for your kids to observe, too. Similarly when you are also dishonest, you would have seen your kids call you out. These moments are extremely crucial for you and them – if they see you being dishonest, you can’t expect honesty from them. 

Teaching honesty gives your child the courage to admit when they make mistakes which they will as they navigate life. Your child also needs to feel confident that honesty won’t come at a price. Else, the risk of being honest is too high. Whether it’s breaking something, or lying about hurting someone – honesty must trump being right, or doing the right thing in the early stages. Typically, honesty should be taught at the earliest stage of child development. This is the first step for them to learn from them, and go through life being true to themselves. In a world that values people with good character, honesty helps your child become a responsible person who adds positive vibes to the community.

2. Respect 

Respect has many dimensions –it’s admiration for a person, or having regard for how someone feels. While it’s a common frustration among parents that kids today don’t respect them, teaching your child why they should respect someone is a challenging prospect today. Gone are the days when we could demand respect by virtue of age, or seniority. Today, kids expect us to demonstrate behaviour that is deemed worthy of being respectful. This foundation is laid early on –when they see you open doors, smile at other people, or simple being courteous. Teach them the golden rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated”. All of your behaviours tend to get modelled at home or outside. Teaching them simple things such as greeting their friends, or teachers – is a good starting point. Start by greeting each other at home. Showing up on time is another way of indicating respect. Being respectful is like the strong foundation of a building when it comes to good behaviour for kids. It means understanding and caring about how others feel and what they think. It is not just about being polite, It’s also about being kind and trying to see things from others’ points of view. We need to teach kids to respect different ideas, cultures, and backgrounds. It makes them feel like they belong in a particular place and are part of the group. 

This will help your kids build great relationships. Respect is not just for teachers or friends, it is for everyone in our community. When kids learn to respect, it’s like creating a chain reaction of positivity in how they get along with others. As parents, teaching respect helps your kids become thoughtful and caring people in this big connected world.

3. Responsibility 

When you teach your kids about moral values, helping them understand responsibility is a much-needed task. It’s not just about finishing tasks; it’s about admitting mistakes, making good choices, and helping them understand how their actions affect other people around them. When you encourage them to be responsible, you are helping them become more independent and disciplined.

As a parent, it is your responsibility to guide your kids to understand their responsibilities both to themselves and the community they are a part of –whether it’s the school, your extended family, the neighbourhood, or classroom. Simple ways you can help is by assigning them tasks which they should complete. Instill the idea that they’re responsible for those getting done. For example, setting the dinner table, or bringing your mail from the door and putting it in its place, or even better –putting away their soiled clothes into the laundry hamper. If for example, they forget to complete this task, help your child see how it will affect others in your family. Small tasks help paint a clear picture of responsibility and accountability. 

4. Compassion

Compassion means caring for others and being there when they’re going through tough times. It is a beautiful feeling that can help us connect with others. You need to teach them that being compassionate individuals can make the world a better place. When you teach your child compassion, you’re helping them become a kind-hearted person. It’s not just feeling sorry for someone; it is about doing nice things to help others who might need support. When you teach kids to be kind, you are also helping them understand how others feel. It brings everyone close together. 

Encourage your child to see things from different points of view, so they can accept and understand others better. By embracing kindness, they not only make their relationships better. Apart from this, they also do good things for the community. In a world that can be unkind at times, teaching your child to be kind helps them become caring individuals who want to make things better for others’ lives. 

5. Forgiveness 

When you teach your kids about forgiveness, it’s an essential emotional toolkit to navigate tough times with friends or family. This also applies to your own journey as a family. There will be times when your child will be angry with you, for some reason, and forgiveness will help them make peace with the anger they’re feeling. When your child learns to forgive, even if it’s for someone taking their most favourite thing, they learn to let go of difficult feelings, such as being angry, resentful, or upset. This helps your child to develop and grow up emotionally. This value shows them that everyone makes mistakes and it encourages them to understand others better.

Forgiving isn’t just about saying it’s okay when someone makes a mistake. It is more like making a major change that helps them get rid of negative feelings. As parents, you can teach them how to forgive by doing it yourself and guiding them when things get complicated.  In a world where problems are bound to happen, teaching your child to forgive is like giving them a handy skill. It makes their relationships better and helps them feel happier overall.

6. Gratitude 

Gratitude is like having a natural happiness booster. It’s a mindset where you appreciate everything you have –whether it’s physical, or mental. Gratitude is not rooted in saying thank you for things –but instead is focused on being grateful for the experience you’re having, and showing appreciation for it. It’s equally also about having a mindset where you notice and appreciate what others do for you. When you teach your son or daughter about gratitude, you’re helping them see the good even in tough times, and that makes them stronger. As a practice, showing gratitude every single day is a mood booster. Gratitude is a superpower that lets you understand and care about others. Grateful people are kinder, make good friends, and feel happier inside. It’s about feeling a responsibility to help others. It’s possibly one of the most underrated skills when it comes to being resilient in the face of challenges that you can teach your child.

7. Patience 

In a world where everything happens quickly, it’s important to teach your kids about patience. We live in a world where everything is meant to happen instantaneously and the art of waiting is almost lost on many younger generations. The experience of waiting for something, or being patient is almost like savouring the process of getting a reward, or receiving something. Patience teaches you to be mindful of life –and that everything doesn’t show up or happen the instant we want it to. As a result, your child can see that some things in life need to be waited upon. Whether it’s exam results, the ripe season of mangoes, or a favourite toy –must be savoured after waiting for them patiently. It helps your child grow into a kind and thoughtful person and in turn face challenges with strength, knowing that achieving certain things requires time and effort. Patience means they can handle waiting without getting upset, and it also makes them better at understanding their own feelings.

When parents talk to kids about waiting for the right time, it’s like giving them a superpower. Taking time helps kids solve problems calmly and make good choices. In our busy world, being patient is like laying a strong foundation for being a good and considerate person. It means your child can achieve things not just successfully, but also with kindness towards themselves and the people around them.

8. Self-control

In the world of moral values, learning self-control, much like patience, is important. Both these values are like a joined muscle. A person who learns to be patient, also understands the value of self restraint and self-control. Teaching them to control themself means they’re no longer at the mercy of others’ actions or inactions. Self-control helps your kid manage impulses, emotions, and reactions while being able to respond to a specific situation in the most appropriate manner. When combined with patience, it’s the ultimate arsenal for an emotionally resolute person. It forms a crucial part of emotional intelligence, allowing them to make informed decisions even when things are tough or frustrating.

When you teach self-control to your child, you’re helping kids become stronger and more disciplined. This is helpful, especially when pre-teens are going through a lot of ups and downs with his or her feelings.  With some patient guidance and practice, kids can learn to think about what might happen because of what they do. This trait can be honed especially when it comes to sports where winning or losing becomes so important. By showing self restraint, your child will learn to accept the different aspects of life, with a smile and grace. In turn, preparing him or her for a world that is not always nice, or where things will not turn out in a way that serves them. Coping with evolving situations by managing one’s emotions is the greatest need of our time –when people tend to have emotional outbursts at the most trivial of instances. This builds a sense of being responsible and accountable for one’s actions. In a world where there are lots of things trying to get our attention, having self-control is like giving them a useful tool that will help them make good choices their whole lives. This applies to device usage, hogging the TV remote, or just being considerate towards others.