One of the most challenging tasks for parents is to avoid simply forcing patterns of behavior on their children by actually developing the character of their children. There is no easy formula for character development, but here are six steps a parent might consider taking:

Step 1: What Kind of Character do You Want to Build?

Before you can build your child's character, you must have a clear understanding of what kind of character you want your child to have. What values do you want your child to have? You should write these things down and think about how you might be able to intentionally instill these values in your child. Quality character must be developed intentionally. 

Step 2: Model the Character for Your Child

"Do what I say, not what I do." Whether verbalized, or not, this is a common theme of ineffective parenting. You need to model character for children. From an early age, your child will watch what you value and how you handle situations. Children learn by observation. If you want your child to have a high quality character, or you want them to maintain certain values, you must show them that you value the things by doing them, not just requiring your child to do so. 

Step 3: Teach Your Child

While invaluable in developing character in your children, modeling behavior is not enough. You need to be intentional about teaching your children what you value and what you believe strong character is. Your child needs to know why a certain behavior is right or wrong and why a certain value should be maintained with uncompromising integrity. Take the time to talk with your children about your values and your decision making process. You can't simply assume they will just develop character through osmosis. 

Step 4: Introduce Your Child to Ethical Systems

Part of teaching your child why you value certain ideas and character traits is helping them to understand where your values and ethics come from. If you are a religious person, help them see how your religious beliefs affect your ethical decisions and values. No matter what type of ethical system you subscribe to, you need to connect your child to a larger body of belief in the world. This will help them to see their values and ethics as part of an ongoing discussion in the world at large. 

Step 5: Introduce your Child to People of Strong Character

Children need more than just your example, they need to see that there are men and women to admire who share similar character and values as you do. These could be relatives, but also might include individuals in the community, pastors, teachers, and other leaders. Examples from history, from literature, and even from film can be used as examples to reinforce character traits and values you are trying to develop in your child. 

Step 6: Take Strong Measures if Necessary 

You have a limited amount of time to influence your children. Sometimes this can be difficult and you may need to turn to outside help if you are having difficulty. Consider consulting with a behavioral expert, a childhood Psychologist, or a counselor. If you have a son with extreme behavior problems you might consider finding an affordable boarding school for boys. Make the most of the time and resources available in your community to develop your child's character. 

Building your child's character can be a frightening and challenging prospect, but you are not alone. It’s essential to devote yourself to this important task if you desire to raise a healthy and well-adjusted child.

Author's Bio: 

Karleia is a freelance blogger.