If there’s one thing that every parent should be able to agree on, it’s that society today isn’t particularly moral. Pornography, drug use, and criminal activity are rampant; raising a child in such a world is emotional and nerve-wracking for any parent. Protecting your children against sexual immorality, addictive substances, and criminal activity is increasingly difficult.

So, how does a parent raise a moral child in such a world? Unfortunately, nobody has a definitive answer. Every child needs different parenting, and every parent will have different ideas about discipline, guidance, and how and when to teach their children about morality issues.

But there are a few guidelines every parent should follow. Here are a few parenting tools to help teach your children morality:

Consequences

Teach your child about consequences. Start young—as soon as they are able to understand the difference between right and wrong, teach them that making wrong decisions leads to disciplinary actions, while right decisions bring rewards.

When you need to discipline your children, don’t go overboard. You want to help your child in a spirit of love and respect, not put him on the defensive (or worse, the offensive). Guidance, not punishment, must be the driving force behind teaching consequences.

Many parents believe that the punishment should fit the crime: if your child disregards his chores, add another one to his list. If he refuses to eat his dinner, refuse him dessert. If he talks back, have him write a formal letter of apology.

If a child learns about consequences at a young age, he will better understand more significant and natural consequences later. If he drinks and drives, he will face the law. If he follows the crowd at school and skips class or skips a few homework assignments, his grades will drop.

Educate

Every child needs different discipline, but one universal method to raising a moral child is to educate them about morality.

There is a fine line between “sheltering” your child and letting them be exposed to more than they are ready to see and experience. Raising your children under a metaphorical rock won’t do them any favors when they make it out into the real world, but as a parent, it is your prerogative to protect them from immorality and violence until they are mature enough to understand and avoid it under their own volition.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a chart or diagram that will show you at what ages your children are ready to discuss certain aspects of immorality. Every child is different, and you know them best—use your own judgment to determine when is the appropriate time to teach them about drugs, sex, abuse, violence, and crime.

Example

The best way to teach your children morality is to lead by example. If your children watch you lie, degrade others, speak unkindly, use illegal substances, etc., they will be more likely to do the same. “Do what I say, not what I do” only works if you’re not blatantly disregarding your own advice. Mistakes can be forgiven and used as teaching moments; being a hypocrite will only drive your children away.

Children learn by observation, so make sure that you are their greatest example of living a moral life. If you want your children to grow up to be responsible, kind, law-abiding citizens, be one yourself.

Offer Tools

Give your child the right tools he needs to become a morally responsible adult. Here are a few ideas:

  • Teach your children about morally upstanding people both from history and in today’s society.
  • Form strong familial bonds by eating meals together and spending time as a family.
  • Express interest in your child’s interests and goals and direct them to healthy, wholesome activities.
  • Give your children good literature to read and supervise their media use carefully.
  • Educate them about the law and why it’s so important with stories from history.
  • Be involved in your children’s education

Being actively engaged in your child’s hobbies and well-being is the best way to let them know that you care about them. Knowing that you care will make all the difference in how your children view themselves and the world around them.

Raising a moral child in today’s society is not easy, but with the proper patience, respect, and example, you can give your child the proper moral foundation to stand on. Their decisions will ultimately be their own, but do all you can to guide them in the right direction. Teach them proper principles of morality and then trust them to build on the foundation you’ve given them.

Author's Bio: 

Karleia is a freelance blogger. Visit The Defence Lawyer should your child ever need criminal defense representation or legal advice.