Recent studies indicate that, although there seems to be a certain innate morality in the baby that is born, learning to distinguish between good and evil and to act ethically entails a learning process that is influenced by different variables.
Among these variables, the environment in which the child is raised stands out fundamentally, being the example of the parents one of the fundamental pillars.
But in addition to acting at all times knowing that we are the mirror in which our children see themselves, there are other things we can do to promote their ethical and moral development . Study finds ‘significant association’ between screen use at one year of age with autism spectrum disorders at age three.
Teach them that limits must be adhered to
Setting limits for children is essential and necessary to teach them to differentiate what is right from what is wrong. It is important that these limits guarantee the well-being of the child himself and those around him, and ensure a peaceful and respectful coexistence in society.
Limits must be taught with kindness, respect and empathy , and little by little the child will learn them and incorporate them into his life. But in this learning process, it is more than likely that there will be times when our child exceeds the limits imposed , so it is the parents’ task to redirect the situation in a positive and respectful way.
Explain that our actions have consequences (and repair our mistakes)
But in addition to redirecting the situation, when the child breaks the limits it is essential to talk about the consequences that this has , especially when it affects other people.
Similarly, when our children make a mistake we must teach them to repair it in a positive and respectful way for everyone. For this, it is essential that in our day to day we set an example by recognizing our mistakes and asking for forgiveness for them .
Appreciate the good deeds of oneself and others
Although it is not about praising the child every time he has a kind gesture with others, we can value his actions so that he himself also realizes how what he has done has influenced the other person.
In the same way, we can also take the opportunity to talk about those gestures or good behaviors that we see in other people and that can be a source of inspiration for children at a given moment.
Encourage thought-provoking moral debates
Family debates are very enriching to work on various areas of children’s social development , as well as language, active listening, taking turns to speak or respectful treatment of any topic in question .
But in addition, the debates give us the opportunity to raise certain issues that imply an ethical or moral dilemma to reflect on. In this way, we will encourage the child to think about the exposed topic, express his critical opinion of it or simply share with us what he considers correct or incorrect.
Other positive resources to encourage ethical thinking
In addition to the debates, there are many other activities that we can do as a family to promote the ethical development of children.
- Drawings or crafts to work on values such as empathy , respect, tolerance , solidarity…
- Participate in solidarity activities with a final purpose (for example: collect money for a cause, donate toys , write letters to hospitalized children…)
- Read stories that promote values such as integration, diversity , peace…
- There are also movies and series that we can watch with children and adolescents that instill positive values .
As the child grows, in addition to the family, other contexts (school, friends, media…) will acquire more and more influence both in the learning of values and norms, and in all areas of its development.
For this reason, it is necessary that, as parents and those responsible for child education, we pay attention to the learning practices of children in all dimensions of development. Well, if we instill certain habits in the first years of life, we will get them to acquire them forever.