Becky and I are so excited to have Heather Riggleman guest blog for us. Enjoy!
Ever had a parenting epiphany? You know, the moment when you realize you’re talking at your kids but not getting through to them? Me too, I realized if I wanted to build the character of integrity, I needed to find hands on ways to teach them and it reminded me the most important lessons I learned as a child were caught rather than taught.
Catching a concept means it reaches our child’s hearts changing the heart not just the behavior. When something takes root in their hearts, they want to do the right thing. So how do you teach your child integrity? It begins with living it out in everyday moments.
Caught not Taught. One way to help them catch the concept of integrity is walking it out in front of them while inviting them to discuss what you’re doing. This could mean taking an item you find in your cart back into the store to pay for it or driving the speed limit when no one else is and apologizing to your child when you are wrong.
Look for everyday “teachable moments.” Use stories, TV shows and movies to highlight, discuss, and comment on situations to reveal the presence or absence of integrity and honesty.
Take character building seriously. Be mindful of character building just as much as you were mindful to teach please and thank you. For example, instead of dishing out discipline when your child hits her sibling, discuss how she could have handled it differently and what she should do now as a result of her choices.
Words are Gold. The most important concept to teach your child is following through on your word. Always keep your promises and use them sparingly. This will teach your child when she gives her word, she needs to keep it. To be trusted by her word is like gold, rare to find but so valuable.
Correct mistakes. Without being condescending, correct your child when she is dishonest or misbehaves. Invite her to give examples of how she could have behaved differently and remind her it’s a choice she needs to make because you cannot make it for her.
Heather Riggleman is a mom to three children, ages, 15, 7, and 5. She is married to her high school sweetheart. She is the author of Mama Needs a Time Out and would love to connect with you about her Real Mom Life on her blog: heatherriggleman.com