7 Helpful Ways to Guide Your Child Toward a Strong Moral Character
“You can learn many things from children.
How much patience you have, for instance.”
~Franklin P. Jones
Don’t you wish each individual child came with a personalized instruction manual?
Parenting is both a wonderful rewarding blessing and a humbling challenging responsibility. Some days you feel like an expert and others you’re quite sure you’re a total failure.
We all want our children to grow into adults who have strong character. People who are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Who maximize their strengths and refuse to excuse their weaknesses. And individuals who are kind, caring, honest, capable, and God-honoring.
As I reflect on the years spent raising our children, I’d love to share with you some of the things that I have come to believe are important when it comes to guiding the next generation toward living with a strong moral character.
But, please know this—I’m not an expert. Not even close. Like you, I’m a mom on a journey . . . we’re all just doing our best, loving our kids, and praying God’s best for them.
7 Ways to Guide Your Child Toward
a Strong Moral Character
1. Know your own personal strengths and weaknesses.
Do your best to maximize your strengths and ask God to help you avoid giving in to your weaknesses.
Read – 8 Steps to Strengthen Your Character
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.
Important Character Strengths for Life
|Appreciation||Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence or skilled performance in all aspects of life.|
|Bravery||Not backing away from a challenge or difficulty.|
|Caution||Not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.|
|Creativity||Imagining new ideas and ways to do things.|
|Curiosity||Taking an interest in learning and trying new things.|
|Enthusiasm||Approaching life with excitement and energy|
|Fairness||Treating all people with an attitude of equality and justice.|
|Forgiveness||Letting go of feelings of revenge and resentment.|
|Gratitude||Being aware of blessings and thankful for good things that happen.|
|Honesty||Being truthful and sincere . . . having integrity.|
|Hope||Anticipating the best and working to achieve it.|
|Humility||Living free of prideful arrogance.|
|Kindness||Being caring by saying and doing good things for others.|
|Love||Building relationships with kindness, care, and compassion.|
|Perseverance||Willing to work to accomplish what has been started.|
|Self-control||Ability to control what is said and done.|
|Wisdom||Knowing and applying what is true, right, and lasting.|
3. Model the qualities you want in your children.
Children are always watching, if they see us manipulating the truth, whining, quitting, or failing to forgive, it doesn’t matter what we say . . . they will believe those behaviors are acceptable.
“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” ~H. Jackson Brown
4. Model forgiveness – ask for forgiveness and forgive quickly.
No one’s perfect. We all make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to talk about your failures and ask your children for their forgiveness.
Be willing to say, “I was wrong to _____________. I’ve asked God for forgiveness, and I’m hoping you will forgive me too.
Tell them you forgive them. Let them see you forgive others. Modeling forgiveness according to God’s will 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
5. Give your children opportunities to make age-appropriate decisions.
Character values, like muscles, grow when we use them. So, 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
6. Pray without ceasing.
Hold them up in prayer to the Lord, faithfully. Turn your worry into a prayer and ask God to show them His plans and purposes for them.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11
As I look back at our years spent parenting children at home, I wish I had read fewer parenting books and spent more time praying!
Let’s pray and ask the Lord for His guidance and help…
A Prayer Asking God to Guide Our Parenting
and for Our Children to Have a Strong Moral Character
Father, I thank and praise you for the gift of my children. It is a precious responsibility to love and guide the next generation for this world You created. I am humbled and most of the time I feel totally inadequate.
More than anything, I want my children to KNOW and LOVE You. I want them to be people of strong moral character . . . individuals who TRUST Your Word and OBEY Your will.
So today, I come to You asking You to fill our hearts with Your love and guide us by the power of Your Spirit. Please forgive me for all the times I fall short of being a good example for them. Forgive me for failing to instruct and discipline them as consistently as You desire. Please help me. Work in all of us so that we might function in the strengths You have given us and give us what we need to rise above our weaknesses so we might glorify You in all we do and say.
Lord, by the power of Your Spirit, give me a strong moral character and help me to help my children. Amen.
And finally, #7. Do your best and live with grace.
There are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children. We are all simply doing our best. So, love them big, point them to the truth of God’s Word, and pray like crazy.
“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
May God be with you and bless you as you love your children and help them become the people God created them to be.
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The best parenting advice came from my mother-in-law. I was a strict parent and expected my children to behave all of the time. She told me one day that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. I thought about what she said and tried to always take that advice afterwards.
I love this, Jackie! Thank you! I shared it with my daughter this morning. Your MIL sounds like a wise woman. Thanks for sharing it with us. Blessings!
Wonderful advice for any and all parents, Deb.
Thank you so much, Martha! Blessings!
I love the list of character strengths! This is such a helpful post for parents. Thank you
Thank you, Valerie! Blessings and hugs, my friend!
Wonderful words of parenting wisdom, Deb! God blessed me to be an aunt, and oh what a source of joy and worry it is! I loved how you said to love them big, point them to the truth of God’s Word and pray like crazy! In this day and age, more than ever, they need to hear “the Truth of God’s Word!” I pray like crazy already for children every where…kids are up against so many of the devils tactics these days, it scares me for all of them. I will be using your list, as I try continually to be a source of God’s light and God’s love for all the children God puts on my path, and so hope my prayers will help all the children that I will never meet or know. Blessings always,
I love this, Kathy! God bless you for investing in the future through your prayers for all children. Thank you! Blessings and hugs!