“You can learn many things from children.
How much patience you have, for instance.” ~Franklin P. Jones
Don’t you wish every child came with an instruction manual?
Parenting is hard.
Some days you feel like an expert, and the next you’re quite sure you’re a complete failure.
You just want your children to grow into people who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Who maximize their strengths and refuse to excuse their weaknesses. Who are kind, caring, honest, capable, and God-honoring. You care about your child’s character! That’s all.
And you wonder why you’re exhausted?
The first thing you must know is I’m not an expert. Not even close. Like you, I’m a mom on a journey . . . we’re just doing our best, loving our kids, and praying God’s best for them.
How to Strengthen and Improve Your’ Child’s Character
1. Know your personal strengths and weaknesses.
Maximize your strengths and allow God to help you strengthen your weaknesses.
2. Help your child know their strengths and weaknesses.
Talk about them. Start when they are young and make it part of your natural everyday conversation.
|Name of Character Strength||Description|
|Appreciation||Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence or skilled performance in all aspects of life|
|Bravery||Not shrinking from threat, challenge or difficulty|
|Caution||Not saying or doing things that might later be regretted|
|Creativity||Thinking of new and productive ways to do things|
|Curiosity||Taking an interest in experiences|
|Enthusiasm||Approaching life with excitement and energy|
|Fairness||Treating all people the same according to a sense of equality and justice|
|Forgiveness||Forgiving those who have done wrong|
|Gratitude||Being aware of and thankful for good things that happen|
|Honesty||Speaking the truth and being genuine|
|Hope/Optimism||Expecting the best and working to achieve it|
|Humour||Liking to laugh and joke and bring smiles to other people|
|Kindness||Doing favours and good deeds for others|
|Leadership||Organising group activities and making sure they happen|
|Love||Valuing close relationships with others|
|Love of learning||Mastering new skills, topics and knowledge|
|Modesty||Letting your accomplishments speak for themselves|
|Open-mindedness||Thinking things through and examining them from all sides|
|Perseverance||Finishing what you start|
|Perspective||Being able to provide wise advice to others|
|Self-control||Controlling what you say and do|
|Sociability||Being aware of the motives and feelings of yourself and others|
|Spirituality||Believing in the higher purpose and meaning of life|
|Teamwork||Working well as a member of a group or team|
Park, N. & Peterson, C. (2009). Character Strengths: Research and Practice. Journal of College & Character, X(4). Fox Eades, J.M. (2008). Celebrating Strengths: Building Strengths-based Schools. UK: CAPP Press. (Link)
3. Model the qualities you want in your children.
Children watch more than they listen. If they see you manipulate the truth, whine, quit, or fail to forgive, it won’t matter what you say . . . they will think those behaviors are acceptable.
“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” ~H. Jackson Brown
4. Ask your children for forgiveness.
You’re not perfect. You’re going to make mistakes and at times set a poor example. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for their forgiveness. When you’ve failed to model good character qualities, say so … and ask for forgiveness.
Be willing to say, “I was wrong to _____________. It’s not wise to act like that. I’ve asked God for forgiveness, and I’m hoping you will forgive me too.
5. Forgive your children’s failures.
Let them see you forgive others, and teach them to forgive. It is one of the best gifts you can give them.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Romans 4:7
6. Give your child opportunities to make age-appropriate decisions.
Character values, like muscles, grow as we use them. Encourage your children to flex their muscles, learn from their mistakes, and grow.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ~Benjamin Franklin
7. Pray without ceasing.
Hold them up before the King of kings faithfully. Turn worry into prayer asking God to show them His plans and purposes . . . and use them for His glory.
“From the world’s perspective, there are many places you can go to find comfort. But there is only one place you will find a hand to catch your tears and a heart to listen to your every longing. True peace comes only from God.” ~Charles Stanley
Finally, do your best and give yourself grace.
There are no perfect parents just as there are no perfect children. We are all simply doing our best. So, love them big and point them to the truth of God’s Word and pray like crazy.
The rest is in God’s hands. Trust His love for them and for you.
“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” ~Anne Frank
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