Teaching Children the Difference Between Right and Wrong

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So the story goes like this…some days back my four-year-old daughter came back from playing with the neighbour’s children, ate her food and went to sleep. While folding her clothes, I noticed that there was a 10/- rupee coin in her pocket. My husband and I had already decided that the child should not get any pocket money before a certain age, so I wondered where she had got this coin from.

The next day, upon asking her, she replied that her friend had taken two coins from her mom’s purse and had given her one. I did not know how to react in this situation, so I lovingly explained to her that one does not take things like this and also that children should not take money from the purse without asking parents, it is known as stealing and is wrong.

In the evening, I myself went to return the coin back to my neighbor and told her the whole incident. Talking to a counselor friend about this, he gave some great suggestions for teaching the difference between right and wrong to children, which I would like to share with you here:


1) Set an Example for Children

It is said that the family is the child’s primary school. The child learns several different behaviors by watching and observing his/her parents. Therefore, if you do not want your child to do something, then you should also not be doing it.


2) Tell Stories with a Moral to your Child

Children like stories and these stories can become a powerful medium to develop good qualities in them. In addition to religious stories such as Ramayana, Mahabharata, stories of the Panchatantra are a good example for  children. Along with monthly magazines, and in the era of digitization nowadays, ethical knowledge of the child can also be increased with the use of cartoons or other mediums.


3) Rewarding Good Deeds

Whenever you feel that the child has been obeying all that you have been telling him and he is able to understand wrong things and take fair decisions, then on all such occasions, the child should be encouraged and praised. It will further develop his power to understand what’s right and what’s wrong.


4) Make Sure the Child is in Good Company

Always keep an eye on what kind of company the child is keeping. Do not choose friends only on the basis of economic level. Social and rational values have great importance in the development of the child and choosing the right friends helps in developing these qualities.

5) Make Certain Rules and Regulations for Children

Make sure the child follows certain rules. Like how he should behave while playing with other children. If you find any items or money lying around, he should never take it but tell the parents. Do not indulge in  physical abuse or speak bad words. Also, practice general courtesy, such as greetings to elders. Also, make sure that not abiding by any of these things will be treated as a mistake and the child will be held accountable for it.


6) Be Patient

The development of good habits in children is a slow and a continuous process. There is a possibility that the child may make a mistake or forget about what was told to him. But your main job is not to punish the child but to develop his character, therefore under such circumstances you do not have to lose your temper, rather remind the child what kind of a behavior you expect from him, and also tell him that you have full faith in him. This trust between you both will stop the child from going on the wrong path.

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