Building character in your child- Part 2

Fostering basic human values.

Your preschooler needs your guidance and consistency to help control their behaviors. Photo credit: Pixabay.

Your preschooler needs your guidance and consistency to help control their behaviors. Photo credit: Pixabay.

According to Michigan State University Extension, setting realistic goals is part of character development.  Preschool age children view behaviors resulting in punishment as bad and behaviors resulting in reward, or praise, as good.  Preschoolers don’t have the ability to determine what someone’s intentions are or that someone should do something just because it’s ethically correct.  For this reason, a preschooler needs rules that are consistently enforced.  This age group tends to be a bit egocentric and has a hard time looking at things from another person’s perspective.  For instance, if your child takes a toy from another child they may not realize their actions have made the other child sad or upset.  The parts of the brain that affect self-control are the slowest to develop.  Your preschooler needs your guidance and consistency to help control their behaviors. 

Teaching these values may put more pressure on parents than in the past because children seem to have less contact with their grandparents than children did a century ago.  Family values were passed down by grandparents who often cared for their grandchildren.  In Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, he suggests that families develop a family mission statement that explains or defines the principles that run their family life. Talking about the meaning of the family mission statement, and how daily actions fit into that mission statement, are excellent ways to help your children learn the meaning of the mission statement.  A video on family mission statements provides more information on how to compose a statement.

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