Teaching your child right from wrong

Does it seem to you that the line between right and wrong has blurred? If you find it difficult to discern the truth and what is right and what is wrong; think about how hard it is for our children.

Children are usually guided by their parents when determining right from wrong and if we are lucky, they receive further clues from their spiritual leader and church.

When we were little, people of my generation seemed to have a clearer picture of what was right and what was wrong. We saw less gray areas and the lines were drawn, no one was nearly as confused as they are today.

The media is responsible for this problem as they report all law breaking and every commandment broken. We know evil and naughty exists. So do our children. The real problem comes in the movies and music when illegal behavior is glorified and heroes are made of those who break the worse laws. Children see this and even when young, they are completely absorbed in the personalities of the day. Whether it is a starlet shop lifting or doing drugs or an athlete using steroids or raping someone, it is right in their face. They see and hear it. Children are for all purposes like little sponges that absorb everything around them.

Parents need to teach children what is correct behavior and what is bad or at least questionable behavior. Using their manners used to be taught and the expected norm for children which lead to the teaching of what is good and what is bad. We started with the easier things like it is good manners to say thank you and took that all the way to respect officials and your elders which led to many less likely legal problems. Parents taught concepts of respect, loyalty and honor. They taught it was wrong to steal and when children ignored this commandment they were exposed to some anger and consequences even when toddlers. This made an impression and in turn reminded these kids when they became teens that it is wrong to take something that does not belong to you. They were taught to wear appropriate clothing and so did not develop a taste for clothes that make many parents blush now. They learned early on the Golden Rule and so tried to treat everyone exactly in the way they wished to be treated.

The church teaches the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments and this is easy to explain to the youngest of children. Someone must place the bar high enough that young people want to act responsibly and have a respect for life –all life. A person who respects life is less likely to get into physical fight or do violence against others. Children who value life will not get abortions and will not do outrageous and hurtful things to others. The child that is taught that tolerance is the right behavior will not bully or shoot up schools.

The church leader or Sunday School has an easier time if the parents have already installed good values in their child. Then it is just re-emphasizing the concepts.

Parents please take the time to teach your children right from wrong and the earlier the better. Almost all illegal behavior and wrong thinking can be stopped when children are little if parents set the standards high enough. Former years of working with challenging children has shown me that kids choosing good behavior over bad must be taught when they are little children for it to be effective.