I work with kids from ages five to fifteen, teaching them robotics, writing, and science experiments. All of them, every single one of them that I have come across has the desire to do well, whether they want to put in the hard work required for it could be a question. Broadly speaking almost all of them with the right motivation, prodding does start putting in the work required and improve. This is my experience with the kids that I teach.
However, it’s not their hard work or lack of it that intrigues me. Many kids are conscientious kids, while some are not. And I always wonder how some of them always choose the right thing to do.
Some six-year-olds can lie beautifully, either for their needs or for the sake of appearing funny, while some fifteen-year-olds would not lie even if that meant they would get in trouble. Are the children predisposed to behave in the manner of their choosing or is it the case of a certain type of nurturing or lack of it?
Most kids tend to lie, cheat because of fear of failing. That is a part I understand. I am happily surprised when a kid owns his/her mistake and is accepting of the outcome. Conscientious kids are (in my opinion) products of a home where they are not judged for their behavior. They come from homes where wrong is pointed out, and shown a path towards the RIGHT. Yes, it is okay to commit mistakes, and mistakes are an opportunity to do the right thing. Often, non-conscientious kids are the ones who are never ever corrected by their parents or they are the ones who are always judged by the parents.
Most parents would want to raise conscientious kids, yes there are a few who teach their kids to not get caught while doing a wrong, but they are a handful. Most parents want to raise good kids. Here are some things to do which help us to raise ethical kids.
A supportive atmosphere at home. A supportive atmosphere doesn’t mean not ever correcting your kid. Supportive home means the child has the freedom to be himself. That does not mean undermining the authority of the parents, it just means they know they are heard at home and can express their views without judgment. They also know that they will be corrected for a wrong, but they will not be shamed.
Reading together. We all know we should be reading more. But just telling the children to read, while we are busy whatsapping and facebooking sends wrong signals to the kids. Then reading looks like a chore to the kids. As a family we should aim to choose books together to read, it will open new horizons in the mind and also create a strong bond.
Teaching to choose kindness over anything. When attentions are fleeting, media is overpowering, one thing that needs to be repeated over and over again to our children is to CHOOSE KIND every time. This principle needs to establish space in their hearts and minds forever.