Raising Boys of Character:10 Things ParentsCan Do Dr. Thomas Lickona Author, Raising Good Children Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs www.cortland.edu/character
Character Education Homework • Parent and child, independently, each make a list: “Who are 5 of your heroes? Why?” Then compare and discuss lists. • Student interviews the parent about a topic, e.g.: “What qualities should I look for in a girlfriend (boyfriend)? A wife (husband) if I wish to get married some day?”
Parent Support Groups • Meet every 6-8 weeks in someone’s home. • 4 couples with students at the same developmental level. • Parents choose the topic for the evening. • Parents share success stories and challenges around the focus issue.
Parents Pledge Invite parents to return a monthly “Parents’ Pledge.” Example: PARENTS’ PLEDGE FOR HONESTY • I will demonstrate honesty to my child by my words and actions. • We will talk with our child about the importance of being honest—including the benefits of having a reputation for honesty. Signed: ___________________________
Grilled Cheese Sandwich Story We don´t have to be perfect parents.
Parenting Does Not Create the Child Parents can put their children on the right path, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. —Anne Frank
Principle 1 Know what good character is and make character development a high priority.
What is the content of good character? 10 Essential Virtues
Wisdom (Good Judgment) • Justice (Golden Rule) • Fortitude (Inner Toughness) • Self-control • Love (Sacrifice for Others) • Positive attitude • Hard work • Integrity (Honesty w/Yourself) • Gratitude • Humility (Desire to Be Better)
Character has two major parts: performance character and moral character.
Make character development a high priority: View children as “adults-in-the-making.”
Research finds that adults who were overindulged as children have difficulty coping with life’s disappointments. They have a distorted sense of entitlement that gets in the way of success in the workplace and in relationships.
Principle 2 Be an authoritative parent.
Parents must have a strong sense of moral authority —their right to be respected and obeyed.
3 styles of parenting (research of Diana Baumrind): • Authoritarian • Permissive • Authoritative.
Authoritative parenting combines: Love Confident authority and rule enforcement Reasoning Listening to child’s feelings if expressed respectfully (parents make final decision) Encouragement of self-reliance
At all developmental levels, the most confident and responsible children have authoritativeparents.
Ways to Say No • No. • No, and that’s final. • No, and don’t ask me again. • I have thought about it, and the answer is no. • I know you know how to nag. It won’t work. • Nice try, the answer is still no.
Require children always to speak respectfully to you—in what they say and in their tone of voice.
Consequences Agree in advance on a consequence: “What do you think is a fair consequence for speaking disrespectfully?”
Insist on respect, courtesy, and kindness in all family interactions. Don’t tolerate disrespect or disobedience to you, or rudeness (“Shut up!”), name-calling (“Stupid!”), or other unkindness toward siblings.
Principle 3 Love children.
A Mother’s Love “A mother is a keeper of her son’s dignity. “She is his number one fan, and will demand that others respect him because he is growing into a man.” —Dr. Meg Meeker, Raising Boys
Every Son Needs Grace “When a mother extends outstretched arms to a son who has failed in sports, or school, or socially, or has been deemed not smart enough or ‘manly enough,’ he begins to understand what love is all about.”
A Father’s Love “Boys ask themselves, ‘How does my dad feel about me? What does he think of me?’ “Men who never experience a deep sense of acceptance, validation, and love from their fathers feel incomplete.” —The Blessing, Drs. Gary Smalley and John Trent
Sons need fathers to express their love through: • Time • Affection • Encouragement and challenge.
A son remembers . . . “When I had a cold, my father would rub my chest with Vicks and cover it with a red flannel cloth. On Sunday afternoons, we would walk together to the top of the hill by the dam. “Once there, we would sit on a rock and look down on the town below us. Then I would tell my problems to my father, and he would speak of his to me.” —Christian Barnard, originator of the heart transplant
A Saturday Ritual “I have four kids. Each of them gets one Saturday afternoon a month where it’s just the two of us doing something we both enjoy.” —a School Superintendent
Praise more than you criticize “My father criticized me constantly. He wanted me to be tough. I guess he thought that by pointing out my faults, I would get better. It made me stop trying.”
When Should a Father Push a Son Out of His Comfort Zone? • Mark and soccer • Matthew and swimming
The Importance of Shared Activity Mark, me, and karate
Back-and-forth Questions • How was today on a scale of 1 to 10—where 1 is “terrible” and 10 “terrific”? Why? • What happened today that you didn’t expect? • What did you accomplish today that you feel good about? • What did you learn today? • What’s an interesting conversation you had?
The Family Meal: Have a “Topic.” • What was the best part of your day? • What did you learn today? • How did you help someone today? • What is something you’re grateful for? • What’s a problem you’re having that the rest of the family might be able to help with?
Principle 4 Teach by example.
The most important thing a father can do for his sons is to love and respect their mother.
Positive Role Models The Giraffe Hero Project, www.giraffe.org www.teachwithmovies.com (hundreds of films categorized by values) Books That Build Character by William Kilpatrick (Touchstone, 1994)
Principle 5 Manage the Moral Environment
The importance of supervision: The most academically motivated and morally responsible teens—the least likely to engage in risky behaviors: • Have warm and involved relationships with their parents • Have parents who set clear expectations and monitor their teens’ activities in age-appropriate ways. -Building a Better Teenager, Child Trends 2002 research report, www.childtrends.org
Media Facts • The average child sees about 100 commercials a day. • The average young person consumes nearly 7 hours of electronic media a day. • Three-quarters of 6th-graders have their own TV in their bedrooms. —Kids and Media at the New Millennium , www.kff.org
What The Research Shows • By 16, the average child sees more than 200,000acts of TV violence. • Kids who watch the most violent TV are the most violent. Kids are also desensitized by exposure to violence. (“It’s no big deal.”) • Teens who frequently watch sexual content are more likely to become sexually active.
Family Media Guidelines • We use media to promote family life and good values. • The use of any media (TV, VCR, Internet, etc.) in the home is a privilege, not a right. It requires parental permission. Have a family meeting to explain your reasons for these guidelines.
RECOMMENDATION: Consider having NO TV while you have children in the home.
How do I childproof the Internet? • www.besafehome.com • www.NetNanny.com
Cyberbullying Tips for parents and schools: www.stopcyberbullying.org www.WiredSafety.org (will work with police to find the cyberbully, at no charge)
Supervising Social Media • “For your own sake, I’ll check your online activity (posts, texts, emails) periodically. Please let your friends know I’ll be doing this.” (for further guidelines, see Dr. Michele Borba in our Center’s Feb. 10 excellence & ethics, www.cortland.edu/character)