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How to Teach Morals to Children

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How to Teach Morals to Children
Teach your children to be morally responsible when they are young. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Teaching your children moral values is the process by which you help them develop their moral compasses. The morals your children learn as kids will affect how they see the world and behave as adults. While it may seem impossible to explain the importance of honesty or compassion to a child, showing your children how good morals affect others can have a great influence on them. As a parent, it's your duty to teach morals to children to help transform them into functional adults in society.

Step 1

Define the morals that you feel are most important. While every parent wants their child to be honest, compassionate, kind, respectful, responsible and generous, it may be too confusing for your children to understand the importance of all values. Rank morals and teach them one at a time so your children aren't overwhelmed and have a proper chance to learn the importance of each facet of morality.

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Step 2

Encourage self direction by explaining how to understand feelings, suggests Kaboose magazine. Self direction entails teaching your children to use their own feelings and sense of responsibility to decide whether something is right or wrong, and to decide the course of action. Self direction takes the place of teaching many morals individually. Talk to your children and create several hypothetical instances where they would need to assess their feelings to make a choice, like a friend being bullied or accidentally taking a toy that doesn't belong to them.

Step 3

Explain natural consequences of bad or improper choices. This teaches your children to look past the moment to see what their actions will reap, notes William Sears, M.D., associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.. For instance, if your children continually fight with friends, note that one day their friends may not want to play with them. If your children are caught lying, explain that it can make people doubt their stories. Also teach that good morals also have good consequences. Always being responsible means that someone may ask for their help, and always being kind could net them more friends to play with.

Step 4

Offer a good example for your children to follow when it comes to morality. If you try to teach your children good morals while exhibiting less-than-exemplary morals yourself, you send a mixed and confusing message to your children. BabyCenter.com notes that it is especially important to show morality in your dealings with your children, even moreso than with other people. If you make a promise, follow through. Show compassion by taking time to listen. Break up fights in a fair and even manner and check your temper. Your children will soon learn through your example that not only is morality important, but a desirable way to deal with others.

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