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Parenting Tips - How to Use Moral Dilemmas to Create Fun Parties for Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Get out the paper plates and invite the neighbor kids. It's time for a rainy day party with chocolate chips and moral dilemmas. Here's how to have fun on a dreary afternoon and build character too.

Years ago when my boys were in grade school, the neighborhood kids would come to our house and play monopoly. Playing games is something I love, so I'd play with the kids too. Not too long ago, one of the boys, now an adult, remarked to my son, "I remember when we played monopoly with your mom. That was so much fun."

Today Radio Shock Jocks and Rappers influence kids and adults by saying unspeakable things that break down the culture. Why not be a parent who lifts the culture by starting with your kids and their friends? You can create fond memories, be a character builder, and have fun too.

Parenting Tips – What you need for moral dilemma parties:

  • Kids
  • Paper plates
  • Cookie dough
  • Moral Dilemmas
  • Tape recorder (optional)

Parenting Tips – Arranging the moral dilemma party:

  • Get permission from the parents for their kids to participate.
  • Set the table with a moral dilemma under each paper plate.
  • Bake the chocolate chips with the kids.
  • Put the tape recorder in the middle of the table.
  • Get ready to have fun.

Parenting Tips – Discussing the moral dilemmas:

Once the kids are seated and chomping on their cookies, have them look under their plates. Tell them to take turns reading and discussing their dilemma with the group. Here's a sample dilemma to consider:

Pretend your name is Joe. You have an older sister named, Rebecca. She loves to tease you. She calls you names, like "stupid, dope, and dummy." You always get mad. She just tripped you after calling you "dumb head." You almost fell. So you kicked her back.

Now Rebecca is yelling, "Mom, Joe kicked me!"

You yell, "Rebecca made me do it! She wouldn't stop teasing me!"

Parenting Tips – Consider guiding the group discussion with these questions:

  • Whose fault is it that Rebecca was kicked?
  • If you were Joe, what would you say to your mom?
  • If you were the mom, what would you tell Rebecca and Joe?
  • Have you ever gotten your sister or brother in trouble that was partly your fault? What happened?

Parenting Tips – Points you might ask the children to think about:

  • When you react to a teaser, you increase the teaser's power to irritate you.
  • When you don't react, you decrease the teaser's power to annoy you.
  • Get several solutions from the group about what Joe could have done differently.

Parenting Tips – What research tells us about discussing moral dilemmas:

Research tells us kids grow in character when they hear peers who respond with higher level answers. Guess what? You've just helped the kids think through some typical childhood dilemmas. Now it's time for them to hear their voices.

Listen to the tape recordings together. Praise the kids for their good ideas. They'll love your praise. They'll love being appreciated by their peers too.

Congratulate yourself. You've just gotten your kids and their friends to think with character. You've raised the culture in your neighborhood too. Next time the kids are confronted by similar dilemmas, they may remember your party and act with character.

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Pick up 51 dilemmas for fun discussions with your children Dilemma Discussion Kit and enjoy hearing their solutions and building their character.

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