We’re sure your kids are pretty great!
Yes, they might throw the occasional temper tantrum at home and in the supermarket, and yes, they might refuse to eat their greens and decide against tidying away their toys, but otherwise, they are probably decent, respectable children. And long may that continue!
But what about the future? What will your children grow up to be? Hopefully, they will grow up well, get jobs that they will be happy in, and live lives that are honorable and law-abiding. These are the wishes of most (if not all parents), so we are sure you have the same desires for your children.
Still, things can go wrong. Not every child follows the right path in life, and some, for whatever reason, commit acts that are against the law. Hopefully, this won’t be the case for your kids, but as you can’t contain them forever, they might make mistakes that they later regret in life.
Thankfully, there is much you can do when your children are young to raise them in the right way. While there is no surety that they will grow up to be exactly the people you want them to be – they do have free will, after all – you can still take steps to raise them to be law-abiding citizens.
#1: Be a good role model
The example you set is an important one. If you flagrantly disrespect the law by breaking highway rules or by throwing away the parking tickets you find on your car, then your children are going to take notice. They will also take notice when you bad mouth local police officers or if you show little respect to the neighbors who live beside you. So, be mindful of your own actions. Don’t purposefully break the law. Don’t disrespect law officials. And be kind and respectful to the people living around you. When your children notice the positive ways in which you are living your life, they are more likely to grow up the same.
#2: Challenge their behavior
Listen, your kids are never going to be perfect. We alluded to this at the beginning. But there will be times that they do and say things that are quite clearly wrong. They might knock another child to the ground. They might swear at their teachers. And they might steal the occasional sweet item from the local supermarket. As the parent, you obviously shouldn’t let these things slide, so when they do something wrong, talk to them. Explain the differences between right and wrong behavior. And discipline them, so your children know that there are consequences to stepping out of line. Hopefully, your words and actions will then sway them from making bad moral decisions in the future.
#3: Monitor their friendships
We know that this might get your children’s backs up, but you really should take note of who they are playing with. If you suspect their peers are leading them into trouble, then you need to step in. Talk to your kids about the behaviors that their friends are exhibiting. Let your children know why certain actions are wrong. And encourage your children to play with those kids who won’t get them into trouble, perhaps by finding new ways to socialize them, such as arranging play dates for your younger children, and by encouraging any of your children to join local hobby or sports groups that are akin to their interests.
#4: Consider a house move
Okay, so we know that moving house is stressful, but it’s still worth looking for a property for sale in a safer area if you’re currently living in crime central. This way, your children will have better role models around them. They will be safer when roaming the streets. And they won’t become subject to any criminal temptations that might otherwise be commonplace in the area you are living in now.
#5: Monitor screen time
Too much screen time isn’t good for your children anyway, as a lifestyle sat in front of a TV or laptop screen can have repercussions for their health. So, do what you can to get your children away from their screens and into some other kinds of activity. However, there is another reason to monitor screen time, and that is because of the content that your children could be viewing. You need to ensure it is age-appropriate and not harmful to their moral wellbeing. Psychological studies suggest violent video games and movies can cause children to be become desensitized to the pain and suffering of others, and that they may also cause them to exhibit aggressive behaviors. So, pay attention to what your children are doing in their bedrooms. Find out what games they are playing and what movies they are watching. Enforce rules about such things if you need to, and sit down with your children to explain why the things they could be viewing are harmful.
#6: Spend more time with your kids
The more time you spend with your children, the better. For one, they won’t have to suffer boredom and distract themselves with acts or people who could get them into trouble. And two, they will have the opportunity to see more of your good example. So, make time for those mommy-daughter days. Spend time with your sons. Do things together on the weekend. And when you’re at home, have family game nights, movie shows, and take part in any other activities together for bonding and teaching purposes.
#7: Give your children opportunities to care and show compassion
If there are any charities in your area, you might want to get your children involved. They could raise money for a local cause, or they could get actively involved if appropriate. And if there are people in your neighborhood who need help, perhaps an elderly neighbor who needs support with his garden, or a child who has no friends to play with, you could encourage your children to help them. When your children are given opportunities to care and show compassion, they will learn the value of helping others, and they should become more morally-rounded people as a result.
Unless you get your hands on a time machine (let us know if you do), you won’t know what the future holds for your children. However, by raising your children the right way, you are doing much to put them on the right path in life, so follow the suggestions we have given you in this article.
Let us know what you think, and please share any of your suggestions with us below.
**This is a contributed post. While Amber did not write it, she has approved it for you all.