If there is one desire that virtually all mothers and fathers share, it is the wish to raise a good child. But ask any dozen parents to define “good” and you are bound to get a dozen different answers. One parent cares strongly about manners and politeness. Another will cite responsibility and obedience to family rules as the essence of virtue. A third parent upholds self-control and cooperativeness as the most admirable of character traits, and fourth emphasizes such qualities as honesty, kindness and trustworthiness. But in truth, good behavior is all these things and more, and given the proper opportunity, your youngster will be able to make all of them a part of his own character.
As a loving parent, what strategies can you use to encourage character building? For one thing, you can give your child plenty of reasons to trust you and to feel secure in your care. For another, you can be a good role model, demonstrating the values and types of behavior you want him to adopt. You can also set reasonable limits and positive expectations, appropriate to his age and temperament. You can be firm, fair, consistent and loving disciplinarian without resorting to harsh punishment. And you can help him find his way within the larger community of friends, school and strangers – explaining, interpreting, guiding and lending a sympathetic ear as he meets each new social challenge. But you cannot make your child be good – that in end, is up to him.