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The ABC’s of Good Behavior

If there is virtually one desire that all parents share, it is the wish to raise a good child. However,
if you ask any parent to define “good,” you are bound to get a variety of answers. Some
parents value manners and politeness while others value responsibility and obedience to
family rules. Furthermore, some parents value self-control and cooperativeness as the most
admirable character trait and other parents emphasize quality such as honesty, kindness and
trustworthiness. However, good behavior is all the above and more. Given the proper care, your
children will be able encouraged to develop an honorable character.

As a loving parent, what strategies can you use to encourage character? There are many options
such as giving your child valid reasons to trust you and feel secure in your care or by being a
good role model and demonstrating the desired behavior you’d like your child to adopt. In
addition, you can set reasonable limits and positive expectations that are appropriate to his
age and temperament without resorting to harsh punishment. As a parent, you can help your
child find his or her way through a large community of friends, schools and strangers while
explaining, interpreting, guiding and lending a sympathetic ear as he or she meets different
social challenges. In the end, you cannot make your child “good,” the decision is up to them.

A Portrait of the Well Behaved Child
What qualities distinguish the well behaved child?

Self-control is needed to regulate actions in the world at large. However, children do not simply
just happen, they are the product of a long learning process that begins in the earliest days of
life and continues throughout the years of childhood.

What babies and young children understand best is the unstinting love of their parents and
of the many foundation stones of good behavior with parent love being the greatest. At the
outset, it gives children the sense of security they need to develop trust in the world and in
other people. As a child grows older, the abiding love of his mother and father gives him or her
the feeling that they are special, a person worthy of regard, thus developing self-esteem. Child
development experts agree that high self-esteem is a vital pre-requisite to good behavior and
social and emotional adjustment throughout life. Children who feel good about themselves have
a much greater incentive to behave well than the children who do not maintain a positive self-
image.

The loving bond from parents encourages another important characteristic of a well behaved
child: the realization that the child’s parents and other people in his or her life have feelings and
needs just as they do. In return, the child realizes that he or she must respect others’ feelings in
order to get along. It takes years for a young child to fully comprehend how his or her actions
impinge on other people, making a friend feel happy or sad through his or her behavior.

During the preschool years, children may be incapable of identifying with feelings of fear and
joy around them. However, they can be taught to respect all feelings that they come in direct
contact with. A child will benefit greatly from being rewarded with praise whenever he or she is
thoughtful towards the people around them.

The awareness that there is more to life than the gratification of needs leads to a sense of
responsibility, yet another key foundation stone of good behavior.

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