One of the many compliments that elders bestow upon youngsters is – “What a well-brought up boy/girl!” We also hear praises heaped upon a child or youngster in the name of good breeding.
On the other hand, when a child misbehaves, the first people to get blamed are the parents. After all, they are the ones responsible for the behavior of a child until he/she is old enough to assume individual responsibility. Actually, even after growing up, it is your parents who get blamed for your behavior, because you cannot build a great house if the foundations are not strong and deep.
A well-brought up person is instantly recognized as one. Such a person is usually courteous, calm, confident and willing to help. Often, he/she will also be talented and eager to listen to others.
Good upbringing is all about training a child to be a good citizen and an asset to society. To this end, a parent has to think of the ideal citizen and try to encourage – remember, ‘encourage’ and NOT force – the child to become this ideal.
We all expect other people in society to be honest, forthright, incorruptible, hard working, learned, socially conscious, environmentally sensitive, generous, polite, broad-minded, non-violent and tolerant. The only way this is possible if our own children are brought up to be all these things. And the only way our children will submit to this sort of upbringing is when we also aspire to be the ideal.
And it is not fair to expect a governess, a maid, a teacher or even a finishing school to convert your child into a magically perfect creature. When you bring a child into the world and give him (or her) your name, you are forever linked to his fate and responsible for his values and his reputation.
One golden rule – while teaching a child anything, do not insult him/her. No reprimands in public or in the presence of friends. Children are entitled to their dignity too. If a mistake has been made, wait until you are alone with the child and then gently correct him/her.
You have to give advice and counsel, but most of all, you have to show a child that it is possible to live with dignity and treat others with respect and kindness. You must teach them the difference between hoarding money and saving up for a rainy day.
You can demonstrate that it is much more fun to share joys and toys, by sharing what you treasure. You can train a child to show respect to elders by treating your own elders with the utmost respect. You can help a child imbibe the value of education by continuing your own learning process, or taking up some course of study.
Building up ‘good qualities’ is never easy. But the best, and perhaps the only, way to teach a child anything is to set an example.
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