Tuesday, June 22, 2010

10 Tips for Ethical Parenting

In the forthcoming book Good Kids, Tough Choices, Dr. Rushworth M. Kidder reports that lying, cheating, insensitivity and lack of empathy are on the rise in children. According to research, less and less children know what it means to do the right thing.

If you're a parent looking for tips on how to raise a compassionate and ethically minded child, this book is a great, practical read. Using ethical parenting early in a child's life helps them to be fair, mindful, connected and compassionate.

Here are Kidder's 10 Tips for Ethical Parenting:

1. Children learn self-steerage from watching us. Modeling how you think and process helps your children to learn how to do the right thing.

2. The language of ethics helps shape thinking and behavior. Use phrases like "be nice" "be fair" and "consider others" to helps shape compassionate behavior.

3. When you think out loud, your children learn your ethics. Let children hear your internal monologue as you move through decisions, thoughts and feelings.

4. Your ethical reasoning elevates their critical thinking skills. Make it clear that your decisions are based on sound ethical reasoning. Show the step by step process of how you reason for your children.

5. When you stretch to do the right things, your children grow more ethically fit. Showing both sides of an argument enables both sides to be experienced. This helps a child learn fairness and compassion.

6. When you admit to your own imperfections, you take the pressure off your children. Showing your children that you can make a mistake, own it and learn from it will help them understand their own humanity.

7. If you keep your ethical aspirations high, children are likely to do the same. Be consistent, conscientious and fair with ethics - and your children will follow suit.

8. You're their number one role model. Children are always watching how you act and behave. You are the mirror to the world for them. Remember that they look up to you as not only a parent but as a teacher.

9. You promote moral courage by modeling it. Let your children see how you move through difficult issues. Talk about the challenges you face, the feelings it provokes and the conflicts that arise.

10. You make them believe in the future. Be enthusiastic and upbeat about the importance of ethics in daily life. In doing so, fairness, sensitivity and mindfulness become more of a reflex than a learned skill.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted this. These tips make a lot of sense. My wife and I already do a lot of the things on the list, but there are some things here we hadn't thought of.

yogurt said...

Parenting guidelines always appreciated. Thank you. I find myself wondering if I am getting through - especially online, chat ethics among girls in particular. Whew, it can get hot in those conversations.

Wanda's Wings said...

Great post.

S'onnie said...

this is great, I always smile when I see parents treating their children with respect, not yelling that them, listening to them and explaining why they are asking them to do something. I think there are a lot of parents out there who don't realise that every action is being watched by their children and remembered. parents who try and scam to save money by saying a child is younger then their age teaches their child that its ok to scam.

ellesu said...

I like that article - such a good reminder about modeling behaviors. Sometimes it's easy to forget that our children are always watching us - even if they don't realize it.

Casdok said...

Great tips!

kenju said...

I will give that book to my daughter; I just hope she will read it.

Thanks for the visit. I compared blogging to having pen pals a while back. The only difference is that blogging and comments are instantaneous! I had a pen pal from Germany when I was in high school. I lost track of her - sure wish I knew where she is now.

Alison said...

Sounds like an excellent book. I know a lot of parents are concerned about the rise of bad behaviour in kids and the lack of good parenting!

It's always good to be able to reassure, redirect and uplift people by letting them know that there are others who are concerned enough to write books and offer some really practical and constructive guidance. Thanks Deb.

Raine said...

some stuff I hadn't considered here- thanks

Dr. Deb said...

I think the book is a great read!

Marj aka Thriver said...

Thanks for sharing this important work. This makes me feel rather good as a parent, frankly. My son has a very good inner compass for doing the right thing. :)

purple cupcakes said...

we have always taught our kids the richest and most gratifying words in our english vocabulary are please, thankyou and i am sorry. We know we are in the right direction when a store owner stopepd us the other day and said thta she rarely these days was she able to give compliments to parents, but that she wanted to let us know that from her observation my children were the politest she had seen in a long time and it was a pleasure seeing them in her store.

The greatest gift i cna passo n to my kids is her compliments.

Patty said...

I absolutely agree that children have been watching us and learn from us a lot. Then parents should try to a a role model as much as possible.