1. Model good character in the home.
As William Bennett observed in The Book of Virtues, “there is nothing more influential, more determinant in a child’s life than the moral power of a quiet example.” It is critically important that those who are attempting to influence children’s character in positive ways “walk the talk.”
2. Be clear about your values.
Tell your children where you stand on important issues. Good character is both taught and caught. If we want children to internalize the virtues that we value, we need to teach them what we believe and why. In the daily living of our lives, there are countless opportunities to engage children in moral conversation.
3. Show respect for your spouse, your children, and other family members.
Parents who honor each other, who share family responsibilities, and who resolve their differences in peaceful ways communicate a powerful message about respect. If children experience respect firsthand within the family, they are more likely to be respectful of others. Simply stated, respect begets respect.
4. Model and teach your children good manners.
Insist that all family members use good manners in the home. Good manners are really the Golden Rule in action. Whether the issue is courtesy or other simple social graces, it is in the home that the true thoughtfulness for others has its roots.
5. Have family meals together without television as often as possible.
Mealtime is an excellent time for parents to talk with and listen to their children and to strengthen family ties. Whether the meal is a home-cooked feast or take-away, the most important ingredient is the sharing time – the time set aside to reinforce a sense of belonging to and being cared about by the family.
6. Plan as many family activities as possible.
Involve your children in the planning. Family activities that seem quite ordinary at the moment are often viewed in retrospect as very special and memorable bits of family history.
7. Limit your children’s spending money.
Help them develop an appreciation for non-material rewards. In today’s consumerist culture, youth easily come to believe that image of wearing the “right” clothes, driving the “right” car, etc. is more important than all else.
8. Discuss the religious days and their meanings.
Gift your children on the birthday of our Aimmah and keep an atmosphere of sadness on the days of their martyrdom