How To Build Character Among Children

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by Bret & Sharie Woffinden

There is no doubt that every child has a unique personality. This is one of the most exciting and challenging things about becoming a parent.

Each child has strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, desires, attitudes, etc. This makes your job a bit more difficult because you SHOULD NOT treat all of your children the same, but you SHOULD treat them equally. You can't just do what worked last time and expect it to work with the next child.

You have to get to know each child. Get to know how they think and react so that you can better guide and relate to them. If you try to treat every child the same, at least some of the children will be dealt with less effectively. Perhaps they will be judged on the wrong things and criticized, leading to a loss of self-esteem.

Even though each child has his or her own personality, the influence of parents and others is what will help them build on their strengths, overcome weaknesses, bridal their passions, and understand right from wrong. Parents can help children control their attitudes, so their attitudes do not control them.

So, where does a child get their personality? There are many theories. Some say a child is a product of their environment while others believe in destiny. Another theory is that of dual personality - where the shoulder angel and devil are whispering in your ears and you have to choose which one you will listen to.

There may be some truth in all of these theories. However, I believe that we are born with a personality. A personality that we have developed over who knows how long prior to coming to this world. Yes, that personality can still change and be influenced, but I believe the main thing we develop here in this life is character.

My Two Cents I believe we have infinite potential for good or for bad and that we have the agency to choose what influences and enticements, both internal and external, we will gravitate toward. As we use this agency and make our daily choices, we develop our character. Pebble by pebble we build a great mountain, or spoonful by spoonful we dig a great pit.

So, if you, as a parent, want to help your children develop a solid character, what can you do?

Give Them a Good Start. Especially during early years, a child's environment is mostly determined by you. You choose where they go, what they eat, who they interact with, etc. If they have a positive experience and see people living right in their first few years, it sets the stage and will be a basis of comparison for them the rest of their life.

Continuous Love and Support. When children (or anyone) have a high self-esteem and know that they are loved unconditionally, they are more likely to be honest with themselves and others. They are also more open to communication with parents. Not only will this create a growth atmosphere, but openness and honesty are key elements of a sound character.

Teach the Big Picture. Teach your children to see things from a broader perspective. What is the overall purpose for their existence? Being able to put things into proper perspective will come in handy during teen years when there is a lot of emotion in every immediate situation. It also helps children to keep their priorities straight.

One Step at a Time. A character cannot be build in a day. It will take a lifetime, so be patient and focus on one thing at a time. Find creative ways to discuss character attributes at the dinner table. Try to use friends, family members, and other heroes as good examples, but never as bad examples.

Work on Yourself. As you work on perfecting your own character, you will be a better example for your children.

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Author: Bret and Sharie are freedom fighters for family values. Through study and their own experience, they have found the key elements that bond a family forever. Bret & Sharie Woffinden may be contacted at

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