Though None Go With Me, Still I Will Follow
As I venture to another day trying to teach my children the do's and do not one thing that is becoming abundantly true is the influence our children's friends and peers have over them. As well as my wife has raised our three up until this point they still have a certain degree of backsliding and getting into their own types of trouble, even though they know that it is wrong, some older than others. I think when the peers are close by and everybody is doing something that is not accepted at home or is school it becomes a little more accepted just because of the masses.
So how do we stop this trend and teach our children to stand on their own?
The one main thing that comes to my mind is that though we spend hours and hours, and days upon days teaching and loving our children, we are not properly preparing them how to deal with the situation of do what is right. I know in some cases a good child stands up and says stop talking that way or maybe it leads into a tattle scenario but I am talking about what to we do to prepare them for the inevitable conflict and how they need to go about it. I do know I have had the conversation with my children of how to behave when others are not doing so, but I also know I spend more time on the morals of the lesson not the how to execute it!
I have told my oldest numerous things of like "Just blame your father" or "Tell them your parents will kill you", but the truth of the matter that point needs to be hammered in more to develop good leaders and children who will do what is right regardless of what their peers have to say.
So what are some of the directions we can use to help our children implement their good teachings. with the child. I don't mean do a Shakespeare reproduction but talk out the entire scenarios of what could or will happen, what are the actions taking place and the best ways to deal with them. The act will assist in making the lesson thy just learned more real by putting names and faces in it. Hopefully this can be dome for the lesson is needed but if the lesson comes as a result of a problem, one could easily recreate the situation and say if "Joey" does this again, what are going to be your steps to keeping you out of trouble and helping the situation. And always remind them they may be alone in the situation but they are never really alone because you are always with them.
Another step to help children find their voice and make good decisions is the books they read. Take the time every once in a while to find a book that deals with decision making and talk to them. If the child is young and having issues being selfish have them read a book about giving up something for something good, like what happens in our book "A Dandelion Girl", so sorry about the shameless plug..! Or you can try a book based on decisions to not do something bad. After the story, you can talk to the child and through the book and your conversation you might be able to make real life examples thus teaching the child how to covert the moral they just read about into real world scenarios!
On more is to flat ask their opinion more, try to to skew it and when you can, try to pick out an argument that the child is right on and argue the other way. Once the child know they are standing up for something that is right and they can get away with arguing back with a mommy or daddy in silly mode, they is a good chance they will get a lot out of the lesson as well as have a few giggle along the way.
Again, I truly believe that we at home do a very good job with our teaching and most parents want their child to behave and act appropriate. The problem occurs when the translation is missed or is not strong enough to hold up against the onslaught of all the other children having to much fun doing what they see as not such a very big deal, but what we see as completely inappropriate.
I hope the article helps and gives you some food for thought. There are many books and articles out there on the internet and in stores that deal solely with youth decision making and they are mixed in with moral philosophies as well.
But before I leave to do want to offer up one or two article that i found particularity helpful and well thought out. The website site www.focusonthefamily
has a section on spiritual growth for children. It the article they sort out different scenario that could come alone a certain ages, 4 - 18. They explain a made up but often real scene and ask what the child would do. Then there is a link to bible scriptures that corresponds to the lesson!
Here is the link:
One other I found that I belive is also worth a free read around the internet highway, is a post from and article found on United Church of GOD. It deals with 10 different ways to teach morals. The article was well crafted enough to earn a spot in the magazine "The Good News" and is deffinatly a good read, you migh already know all or most of the lessons or ideas though here but it worded in a great manner and a refresh of your own ideas are always a good idea, at least it is in our house! oh here is the link 10 Practical Ways to Teach Your Children Right Values.
Christopher Jude is a children's book writer and blogger, husband and father living in Atlanta, Georgia