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This Family Conversation Builds Character in Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Is having a family conversation with your kids almost impossible? Do you find your conversations are more about schedules than values? Keep reading to find out how this family conversation interests kids and builds character too.

Jessica's Dilemma for Building Character:

When Jessica saw the ugly red "F" on her math test, her stomach sunk like a rock. ‘I've failed again,' she thought. Jessica crumpled up her test and hid it deep in her backpack.

Later that night, her mother called out from the kitchen, "Jess, how was the test?" "We didn't have it," Jessica yelled back.

Her mother didn't see the burning red flush on Jessica's face. ‘I've flunked 3 math tests in a row. Mom will find out when we get our report cards on Friday.'

As her tears soaked her pillow that night, Jessica felt the push to tell the truth but fear pulled her back. ‘Mom always says honesty is easier than lying. But I can't tell mom. She trusts me. She'll know I've lied.' Hours passed before she fell into a restless sleep.

Meaningful Family Conversations Can Build Character in Kids:

Most kids have felt the guilt of fibbing to get out of trouble. Sometimes they come clean and tell the truth. When they do, they feel better if their parents compliment their honesty. If parents go into a rage, kids are likely to keep lying. Discussing Jessica' situation can help them decide to become more truthful. Parents need to be kind and rational in their approach.

Character Building Questions for the Family Conversation:

Gather your kids together and read Jessica's problem. Then discuss these questions ~

1. What is Jessica's problem?

2. What could Jessica do to make things worse?

3. What could she do to fix her problem?

4. If you were Jessica, what would you do? Why?

Make sure each child gets time to share their own ideas. Don't judge out loud. If one child gives unsatisfactory answers, talk with him privately. Ask him more questions to get him to think more wisely.

Conclusion for Meaningful Conversations:

Don't just talk about schedules. Talk about morals and values with stories your kids can relate to. Find out what they think. The fact that you listen well will please them. They'll think, ‘When I talk, my parents listen.' You'll be building character too.


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