Teach Children to Be Faithful to Their Principles
During childhood and adolescence, the need for approval can cause children to make decisions they later regret. That's why it's so important we teach them to be faithful to their principles.
Life in society involves a need to belong and a desire for approval from others. This is something natural in all human beings. To some degree or another, we adapt to others in order to establish relationships and connections. However, we need to teach our children from a young age to be faithful to their principles and values. After all, no healthy relationship should cause you to lose sight of your true essence.
We all know that adolescence is a stage where friends become more important than ever in children’s lives. Their peer group comes to play a key role in the identity of young people. However, even when children are very young, we can observe that they feel considerable pressure to fit in and be accepted.
Therefore, there’s no reason to put off having a conversation with kids about the importance and value of being faithful to their principles.
Being faithful to their principles means being true to themselves
Our principles make up who we really are and define our attitudes and desires, and what we expect to give and receive. These precepts guide us on our way in life and serve as a compass when it comes to making decisions. While it’s true that certain universal principles exist, each person takes them on to a greater or lesser degree. And this determines who we are.
As parents, we make an effort to instill certain values in our children. This is what helps them distinguish between right and wrong. We try to give them a good example and the tools they need to help them become good human beings that contribute to society.
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”
– Neil Postman –
Without a doubt, family context sets the foundation for the values that children will embrace. However, on some occasions, life will put them to the test. When that happens, any principles that kids have failed to really internalize may become shaken.
As we stated above, children experience a strong need for acceptance and a desire to belong to a peer group. And all of this can sometimes lead them to make decisions that they later come to regret. Therefore, we need to explain to our kids the enormous importance of not betraying themselves in order to gain the affection and admiration of others.
Teaching children to be faithful to their principles
Self-respect is absolutely key in order for children and teens (and adults, of course) to be happy. We need to teach our sons and daughters to know how to listen to their own desires and to understand their emotions.
If they can learn these two things, their lives will be much easier in many ways. What’s more, they need to understand that putting themselves first isn’t a selfish act. Rather, it’s the most important act of love – self-love.
As parents, we need to build up a healthy self-esteem in our children. That way, there will be no second-guessing when someone demands they give up their self-respect.
They’ll understand that anyone who tries to manipulate, use, or hurt them doesn’t deserve their friendship. This is something that we need to be extremely clear about when educating our children.
Many times, children and teens can find themselves in situations where they will have to take sides. They can either be on the side of the victim or on the side of the bully. Perhaps their friends are criticizing, hurting, or blackmailing a classmate. When that happens, kids are likely to feel the pressure to do the same.
The fear of rejection can often drive kids to participate in aggressive dynamics. This is why it’s so important to instill a strong set of principles. Children who have adopted the values of goodness, tolerance, solidarity, and empathy will be more likely to stand up to wrong behaviors. They’ll recognize them as unacceptable and refuse to participate… Not only because of how damaging they are to others, but also because they know that their actions define who they are.
From the time children enter preadolescence, children feel a greater temptation to be dishonest. It’s common for them to start telling “little white lies” or to leave out certain parts of the truth when talking to their parents.
On the one hand, this is a normal part of the development of their identities. However, it can also get out of hand when parents have failed to teach them the value of being honest.
Mothers and fathers must try to help their children understand that being honest is an act of bravery. Sometimes it may seem like telling a lie can keep them out of trouble. However, in the long run, not being honest only makes things worse and turns us into disloyal individuals.
These are just a few examples, but everybody builds their character around the values he or she believes are important. As parents, we must try to guide our little ones as they define the values that will accompany their development.
Help your kids learn about the values you consider necessary and teach them to be faithful to their principles. In doing so, you’ll be raising wonderful human beings and creating a brighter future.