5 Signs Your Kids Need to Grow in Character and How to Help Them Get There

teaching good character

Recently, I was at a birthday party where my friend’s eight-year-old threw a tantrum because he didn’t like the flavor of his ice cream cone. He threw it on the ground, started screaming, then crying, demanding that she get him the right flavor. The tantrum was unexpected and made me feel sad for the mom who had to deal with her out-of-control child in front of onlookers. It made me think about how important it is to build character in our kids from an early age.

In the busyness of life as a parent, it’s easy to forget about the big picture. We are always thinking about all the daily things we need to remember. Soccer practices, schedules, packing lunches, grocery shopping, making healthy dinners, etc. Our lists are endless. We always hear the saying that the days are long, but the years go fast. And one day, before we know it, our kids are grown up and moving out. By the time our kids are in their teen years, we need to make sure we have helped them develop good character. {Tweet This} Here are some signs that your kids still need to grow as well as how you can be teaching good character.

1. They make fun of others.

Even teasing others can be a sign they still need to develop a deeper ability to care about others’ feelings. As a parent, you can focus on helping them build self-confidence because often making fun of others means they are insecure about themselves and they are trying to feel more confident.

2. They try to control you and don’t treat you or other adults with respect.

If they are constantly getting upset because you aren’t doing what they want you to do, or you aren’t giving them what they want, then they might be trying to manipulate you with their feelings. It’s essential they learn to respect other people, even when they disagree with them. Not giving into your kids will teach them far more than the quick fix of giving them what they want.

3. They embarrass you in public or throw tantrums.

If your child is still throwing tantrums even though he or she is no longer a toddler, then some attention to their inner life would really benefit them. Find out the root of the behavior. Often tantrums are a learned behavior because they may have discovered if they scream loud and long enough, they will get what they want.

4. They won’t play alone.

When your child has a difficult time playing alone, it means there are some more skills he or she needs to develop. This will serve them well as adults, because if they can learn to occupy themselves, they will never be bored. And they won’t use other people for mere entertainment.

5. They complain if they have to work or do chores.

Chores are one of the best ways to teach our children character. Teach them to contribute to the family without complaining, because it’s good to help mom and dad, and it’s no fair that others have to do all the work to serve them. Make the household chores a joint effort.

If you want to remind your child of the particular values that make up good character, you can download our printable, the ABCs of good character or our good character for kids verses. 

Readers, what are some other ways you’ve helped build character in your kids?

Cassandra Soars has published various national magazine articles on a wide range of topics, including life in Mozambique, Africa, where she lived for five years. Her first book Love Like Fire: The Story of Heidi Baker is available on Amazon.