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How to Raise a Child of Character

Parents often ask how to raise a child with good character and values, in the context of a culture that often seems to reward the opposite.  The simplest answer is that children learn what they live, so if you live your values, your kids are likely to as well.

It's also true that talking explicitly about our values helps kids to develop them, especially in the face of teachings from the media or their peers that might go against what you believe.

Finally, there are definitely ways that you can encourage your child to be thoughtful, generous, responsible, courageous -- a person of character. To read more about encouraging the development of specific traits in your child, click below.


Courage doesn’t mean not being afraid. In fact, in many situations that might qualify as stupidity.  Courage means being afraid and doing the right thing anyway. (Read article.)


Forcing someone to be generous just makes him resentful.  Worse yet, it internalizes the sense that he must be a very bad boy indeed if he doesn’t want to share like a good boy. (Read article.)


If you have a deep faith and keep the rituals and calendar of your religious tradition, then you’ve probably given a lot of thought to your child’s spiritual development and have it all mapped out.  If, on the other hand, you wonder how to put what you believe into words and aren’t sure what tradition you want to pass on to your kids, this article is for you. (Read article.)


The way children learn values, simply put, is by observing what you do, and drawing conclusions about what you think is important in life. Regardless of what you consciously teach them, your children will emerge from childhood with clear views on what their parents really value, and with a well developed value system of their own.

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