My Child’s Integrity Starts at Home
My soul aches after hearing the multitude of negative events throughout our daily news. Many of which regard children and young adults. I have grace and compassion for the parents of these mislead adolescents, but I also have conviction. It’s a self-imposed, ever-evolving feeling because I know somewhere down the line, my littles will become big. Someday, they will do actions beyond my control. I’m here today to say first and foremost, my child’s integrity starts at home.
They will be called every name in the book
The weight of the world will try to manipulate them. Furthermore, they will be presented with temptations. Calls of power, or glory, or even vengeance will attempt to capture their attention. We, as adults, can relate. Every adult was an adolescent at one point, and we all had opportunities to stray from our parent’s teaching.
I know my children will face the world.
They will be called every name in the book and swayed from the truth.
It’s my job to get to them first.
Together, my husband and I, will reach the innermost workings of their hearts and set the true values of who they are meant to be. Under The Lord’s will, we will teach them the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
Basic lessons when dealing with your child’s integrity
There are simple, everyday things you can do to connect with your child’s integrity. Let’s review a few ways to get started.
1: Lead with love
I have a confession. I struggle with legalism. Rules. Standards. All of the dos and don’ts… In my heart of hearts, I want to push perfection away. Somehow, the nagging temptation continues to show up.
Let me explain.
My son will plop on the couch next to me, with utmost enthusiasm, and he’ll begin telling me a really good story. Instead of focusing my joy on how creative my son has become, my eyes divert to his shoes. His messy, dirty shoes, moving back and forth, on the cushions of my couch. I cringe. I cut him off, totally interrupting him to reprimand about his shoes. He frowns. The story is cut short and the moment is lost.
Often, your child’s integrity is less about rules and more about their hearts.
Even though to be part of a harmonious society we need order, we as parents have to find that fine line of tact. I honestly feel that a lot of integrity is lost when rules overpower love. If our parenting leads with love, we will have deeper connections to our children’s innermost selves. We also teach our children to be considerate of what really matters. In order to lead with love, I ask God to work on my heart so that love, and not legalism, is emphasized.
2: Allow them to work through challenges
I get it. It’s so easy to fix everything for them. We have the life experience. We have the speed. As parents, we know how to take over our children’s issues and resolve them. What does that leave our children?
In order to increase the integrity of our children, we have to allow them to work through some of their own challenges.
- This DOES NOT mean that our children are on their own when facing problems.
- This DOES NOT mean that we cannot help if our children are unsuccessful at finding a solution.
- IT SIMPLY MEANS that we should allow our children to build their characters by managing their own conflict resolutions.
An example of this can be found when dealing with the sibling rivalry of toddlers. Of course, if anything becomes an issue to safety or mental health, it then becomes our obligation to intervene.
3: Reinforce assertiveness
Part of being integral means advocating for those without voices. It also means being assertive in a respectful manner, and speaking up for equality and justice. Teach your child not to fear and to use assertiveness in their speech. These lessons go a long way and will give your child the strength to live a life that honors more than just themselves.
I work from home as a freelance writer. Naturally, understanding the power of words comes second nature to me. That is why I feel it’s so vital to use that same understanding to make communication a resourceful tool for my children. Through words they have leverage. Through words, they can solve problems. Active assertiveness will be their ally to becoming integral people.
4: Show integrity first
This may seem like a no-brainer, but your children are watching. To give them a foundation of what integrity should look like, we need to model that behavior. Does integrity mean telling the truth? Does it mean being kind even when a leader is not watching? Whatever that list may be, your child’s integrity is essentially based off of your actions.
We cannot expect our children to show integrity if we fail to show it first.
For some, it seems like this tip can be overlooked. The proclamation of “I don’t drink, I don’t steal, I don’t use violence” puts some of us into self-righteousness. But what about things that are not so obvious?
How do you speak to your waiter when you go to a restaurant?
How do you react when someone cuts you off while driving?
All of these things matter and all of these things are workable using God’s grace. No matter the routines or words we present to our children, the most impactful is our example.
5: Discuss self-worth
It’s crucial to have open dialogues with our children regarding self-worth. At our house, we explain that despite how we feel, God has a divine purpose for us all. We are ALL important in our own unique way. Furthermore, while integrity and self-worth seem somewhat independent, if we think about it, intertwining the two can be very helpful.
If I’m important, then my actions matter.
If my actions matter then I should act carefully.
What are good actions?
Your child will understand the benefits of acting with integrity as well as other positive attributes. Most self-destructive behaviors are the result of not knowing who God called us to be.
Every day presents a new opportunity
Dealing with your child’s integrity will be an ongoing evolution. Every day will present a new way to teach, mold, and grow. We desire the best for our children and put all of our faith that Jesus, who has overcome the world, will protect them.
In conclusion, I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. How do you deal with the subject of integrity in your home? Please leave me a comment below.