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Parenting: You Don't Have to Be An Expert to Guide Your Children's Character

By Jean Tracy, MSS

If you want your children to become a people of character with a crystal clear conscience and free of emotional pain, keep reading. Find out how conversations help your kids build character.

Kids Don't Respect Parents Who Lack Character

If children hear their parents say one thing but hear them gossip, yell, see them drink too much, or act the opposite of their good advice, kids won't take their good advice seriously. They won't respect their parents but they might walk in their same footsteps.

To Build Character in Kids You Must Make Your Values Known

Kids need to see you mean what you say. When you encourage others, help others, speak respectfully, and spend family time together, it paints a vibrant picture of the kind of person to become. You must make clear what you value and do it through many short conversations over long periods of time. Then be what you want your kids to follow.

Conscience: Why Wrong Doing Is a Heavy Burden

Ask your kids to imagine a girl named Abigail. She stole her money from her mom's purse. She bought a new game.

Her mother asked her if she found $30, but Abigail said, "No."

Abigail believed the game would make her happy. But now she can't play the game in front of her mom. Instead she hides it to avoid being questioned about it. She constantly worries about being caught and wishes she never took the money.

The act of stealing and the game itself has become a burden. Abigail's conscience is bugging her. She tries not to think about it.

Your Action Step:

Have a conversation about the heavy burden stealing has become for Abigail.

How Thoughts and Feelings Can Hurt or Refresh Character:

When we do wrong, it can hurt the way we think about ourselves. Guilt can settle in and make us unhappy. Doing good feels right.

A clear conscience is like crystal clean water. It sparkles and refreshes the owner's spirit from within.

Conclusion for Character, Conscience, and Conversations:

I know it's not always easy but let's talk to our children. Kids need to know the pain wrong-doing causes us and others:


1. It strengthens our dishonesty and weakens our honesty.
2. It raises distrust from others and lowers their trust in us.
3. It increases disrespect for ourselves and shrinks our self-respect.

When we lose honesty, trust, and self-respect, we can't be happy unless we change.

Our children need to know how doing the right thing frees us.


1. We are clear about what's right and what's wrong.
2. We choose to do the right thing and it makes us feel good about ourselves.
3. We feel strong inside because our character is growing.

When we do the right thing, we can hold our heads up high.

One more thing, let's "walk the talk" we expect our kids to follow.

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Download today 15 discussion stories with puzzles and answers to share with your kids at Back Talk Street

You'll know what to say and do in step by step detail and they'll enjoy discussing stories with questions they'll love answering.

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