How to teach children positive attitudes?

Two children learning how to cook dressed as chefs

Proper Attitudes Important


Parental attitudes can foster unconsciously bad attitudes in sons and daughters. Some parents feel that they want their children to have all the things that they missed out while growing up.

If they had to work hard as youngsters, they want their children to have an easy life. Have you heard such expressions?

Well, on the surface this type of thinking may seem harmless enough. But a deeper probe reveals some serious flaws in such reasoning.

Parents having this attitude fail to realize that, generally, the hard work, the sacrifices and the deprivations that they experienced early in life were factors that helped to make them self-reliant and mature.

Denying their children at least some of these experiences can hinder them in developing similar good qualities.

The child that is given what it demands appreciates nothing it receives.

But let a child wait for a toy and perhaps even be required to do chores for it; he will think more of it when he gets it.

The same is true with a boy who works and saves for a bicycle. He will find more joy in it, think more of it and take better care of it than the boy who gets a bicycle with no effort on his part and without having to wait.

If children are given all the spending money that they want, they may never feel that it is necessary to earn anything on their own.

Nor will they be prone to give others consideration. If parents do everything for their children, seldom will their offspring take the initiative.

Rather, they will expect others to shoulder responsibilities for them. So much depends on how the parents train and discipline their children while the children are young. Don't you agree?

On the other hand, loving parents want their children to grow up to become self-sufficient, reliable, loving and gracious men and women.

And their role as parents is vital in achieving that goal. Usually, children do one of two things: what they are taught to do, or what they are allowed to do.

They do not become selfish and spoiled by receiving love, affection and thoughtful discipline. So start training them early, before it is too late.

If they are young their first job could be to crawl under all the beds—a place they are quite familiar with—and dust all the springs and angle irons.

 As they grow older, you could graduated them to more responsible jobs, such as regularly setting and clearing the meal table; then, washing and drying dishes, dusting the furniture, vacuuming carpets, washing and waxing floors and inside stairs.

True, it might seem unfair to subject them to these tasks. But in later years they will realize that their early childhood training was a great asset.

Usually, it is when children receive too little or none of these things that they become self-centered and egotistical. When grown, children generally are the product of the training, discipline and love (or the lack of it) that they received from their parents.

But, how can an only child in a family be taught to cultivate positive attitudes such as generosity, since he or she is the only one?

The Only Child


Since an only child has no brothers and sisters, if unchecked, this selfish attitude will display itself in adult life.

Such children can become persons who always want the best seat, the first choice of food, and so forth. What can be done to help an only child?

A concerned mother took what some viewed as a drastic approach to her six-year-old son’s increasing selfish attitude. Talking to him brought no results. So she embarked on a different plan.

She, along with her mother (the three lived together), decided to make him aware of how much he depended on them for his food, shelter, clothing and the like.

Every time he used something that was theirs, she and his grandmother would remind him that it was not his.

Soon he came to appreciate that what was “his” really was a gift from them.

It was their property, and he was merely being granted permission to use it. In a short time, the youngster seemed to get the point.

Without their prompting, he began to share with them more and more of what was “his.” This spilled over into his growing circle of friends.

Observing her son at play, this mother noted his new, if initially reluctant, attitude toward the sharing of things with his playmates.

In a short time, generosity became more and more a part of his personality, especially when he saw how this pleased his mother, grandmother and others.

And are not all children hungry for affection and acceptance? Surely they are, and an only child is no exception.

If they turn out well, the parents can ‘take the credit for it,’ as it were. Otherwise, they must painfully accept some of the blame.

But, if the effort is put forth while the children are young, good results will usually follow.

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