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How do we best instill confidence in children and raise them with good morals and discipline?

Lessons on Virtues

What parents should not do:

There is no set formula on how to raise children. Each child is different and unique, so parents' relationships with their children are unique. There are things which are counterproductive when talking with a child. It is a question of what parents should not do under any condition.

If we want to bring up the child with a good understanding of moral values and a good discipline, we must first develop the child's consciousness, to do his/her best in the task to generate in the child's mind the positive image of his/her self. And we must avoid anything that can destroy this positive image.

Unfortunately, out of ignorance, anger, annoyance, irritation and sometimes desperation, parents often use lawful methods in raising their children.

As we remember the commandment "Thou shall not sin" so too we should remember to avoid using any of the following methods:

Do Not Make Negative Comments to Humiliate the Child

Sometimes we question the child: "How this idea did come to your mind? Can you do anything better? Do you have a head on your shoulders," etc? Every time we make a negative comment to the child we erode his/her confidence.

Do Not Threaten

Sometimes we say: "If you do this again - you will receive from me!" Or "if you kick your little brother, I will kick you too!" Each time when we threaten the child, we, without realizing, teaching him to become afraid of us or even hate us. Threats are absolutely useless - they do not improve the behavior of the child.

Do Not Extort Promises

The sequence of such actions at times happens to be like this: the child has done something what he was not supposed to do. Imagine, mom tells him: "Please, promise me now, that you will never do it again." In response she, certainly, receives the promise. And half an hour later the child will repeat the same action. Mom is offended and upset: "You have promised! Why did you do it then? Why?"

But she does not know that a promise means nothing to a small child. The promise, as well as the threat, is more relevant in the future. But the child lives only in the present. If he is sensitive and conscientious, exhortation of promises will develop in the child the own fault syndrome each time he/she breaks the promise. If he is not sensitive, it will teach him cynicism: when the words and reality differ from each other.

Do Not Sponsor Unduly (Excessively)

It belittles the child in his own eyes. Excessive trusteeship gives him the idea that he cannot do anything. Many parents underestimate the ability of the child to do something independently. It is necessary to accept as the motto: "Never do for the child what he can do for himself."

Do Not Speak Too Much

Unduly long explanations mean to the child: "You are not capable of understanding simple things, so listen, I shall explain to you."

Do Not Demand Immediate Obedience

Imagine your husband tells you: "Dear, leave everything and prepare for me a cup of coffee this!" Would you like this demand? In the same way it is not pleasant to your child for anyone to demand things from him. We, at least, should give him in advance notice; "In ten-fifteen minutes we are having dinner together." We expect him to protect a little: "Oh, mom, I'm still playing!" Unconditional submission is appropriate for a puppet, but it does not help in creation of an independent mind.

Do Not Pamper the Child

In this case it is a question of permissiveness. The child will feel that the parents are afraid to be firm in observance of borders, that they are afraid to say "no." It instills confidence in the child, that all rules are not firm (a rubber-kind) - they will stretch just under a little of pressure. It can work within the home, but outside of the home bitter disappointments await such a child. To indulge the child, you deprive him/her the opportunity to grow into a person who can adapt in any situation.

Be Consistent in Your Rules

For example, On Saturday mom is in a good mood and thus allows her child to break all rules (or some of the rules). But on Monday when the child does the same thing, she leans on him/her, like a ton of bricks (i.e. she reprimands, scorns etc). Imagine yourself in the place of this child. How well would you learn to drive a car, if on Monday, Tuesday and. Thursday red light means "stop," and on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - means "go"? Consistency is necessary for the child. He/she should know what he should expect. Confusion in following the rules (allow this one day and forbid the same on another day) does not promote good discipline, on the contrary it confuses the child and he/she won't know what to expect from his parents next time.

Do Not Moralize

This instills a feeling of fault in the child and helps to develop a negative self-image. All of morals finally are reduced to one for the child: "What you have done is bad. You are bad because you did this. How could you do such a bad thing after doing so many good ones?"

Reprimanding and critisizing children on a regular basis decreases the child's self worth. If one were to tape all the criticism on a recorder and then play it back to the parents, they would be amazed. There are so many inappropriate words and methods they use in speaking with the children! They will hear the threats, sneers, constant grumbling, and certainly, moral lectures. Scientifically it is proven, that under such "strain" the child becomes "disconnected" (doesn't pay attention anymore). It is his/her unique way of defense which he/she quickly masters. Certainly, the child cannot be disconnected completely and eventually feels guilty.

Do Not Demand Things That Are Inappropriate For the Age of the Child

Do not expect a two-year-old child to obey the same like a five-year-old. This instills in the child feelings of hostility toward you. You demand from him mature behavior which he is not capable of understanding. This will badly affect the development of his consciousness.
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