Most parents are concerned primarily about their children’s education because they want them to be successful adults. That’s good, but have you ever had to deal with complaints from your child’s teacher or principal about his unacceptable behavior in school? Taking them to school and paying for education is important, but your role as a father is bigger than that. There are a number of character traits kids need to learn to be successful in life and for them to be well-mannered, well-rounded adults in the future.
Today, your sons may be taking lots of their free time playing computer games (because that’s what most boys love to do), but every hour spent gaming is one less hour engaged in building relationship and improving character. As a father, you can be more intentional about investing time with them to teach them to have good character.
Here are some character traits your boys won’t learn by playing video games:
Once a kid spends too much time playing computer games, he might get addicted to it, and this will cause a big dip on the development of his social skills. Social interaction is a basic part of life, and kids who are hooked on video games tend to lack the basic social skills needed to communicate their thoughts, feelings and ideas properly, and be good at resolving conflicts. Children with good social skills tend to do better in school, and tend to get along well and easily with others. They also have better self-image. Some children can be born with the charm and outgoing personality, but for some socializing may be more difficult.
You can train your child to have better people skills, regardless of whether they are extroverted or introverted, by teaching them to interact. Instead of video games, you can encourage your son to play with other kids or siblings. Limit their screen time and offer them board games instead. Talk to them regularly and build a connection with them.
You want your son to be successful, but it’s better to see him as a humble person first and foremost. Kids who lack humility can grow up to be arrogant and ungrateful adults, and no one wants that. Teach him to acknowledge the role of his mentors, his teachers, his role models and whoever is helping him reach his achievements. Model it yourself by admitting that you have made a mistake and when you don’t know the answers. Be willing to give credit to others and encourage them to do the same. Humility can be in harmony with positive self-esteem and confidence, because when a child is self-assured and doesn’t feel superior, he won’t feel the need to brag about his achievements, his talents and the things he has.
3. Kindness and respect
Kids can’t learn how to be kind and caring to others by spending all day in front of the computer. Teaching this trait early on is something that will stay with them as they grow older. Kindness is important so your kid can treat other people tenderly and so as to promote teamwork. A good place to start teaching your child to be kind is by being kind and compassionate to your child yourself. Then you can do good deeds together, like letting him donate his old clothes and old toys to a local homeless shelter.
Respect goes hand in hand with kindness. A respectful person is a kind person. Kids learn respect from how we treat them and others, and they often imitate parents by reflecting back on whatever they do or say. It is honorable to have a respectful son because as he grows older and needs to make big decisions, you would like your son to respect you, his mother and other authority in his life.
Life can be tough, even for children. In video games, you can just undo last action or restart the game if a problem arises, but that’s not possible in real life. Every person needs some level of resilience to get through tough times. You don’t want your son to break down and be hopeless without you when crisis arises. When they learn to be resilient, they will be better able to deal with traumas and difficulties. Most parents will try to shield their kids away from painful situations, but this will only make them weak. Teach them resilience by helping them solve problems instead of running away from it. Discuss any issue with your child, and let them see possible resolutions themselves. And if there’s an issue within the family that will affect your sons, be honest with them and tell them you are going to make it through.
Fear and apprehension can dampen the learning process of your child, and courage will help them conquer new things and find focus. When your child is getting fearful of the changes he has in his life, be his encourager. Teach him to believe in himself. When they are young, you can sign them up in an event where they would have to get up in front of others to avoid stage freight in the future, like signing them up for theater, dance, competitive music, debates, quiz bees or whatever your sign is good at. You can sign him up for sports like swimming, martial arts, baseball and other activities where he can learn how to overcome fear and be courageous.
In this day and age where there are 500 different TV channels and fast internet connection that can load thousands of pages in less than a second, it’s hard to cultivate patience. This is especially true with most kids who love video games, who tend to throw tantrums every time their game console hangs or when it loads the game too long. Teach your kid to wait for the right time for things and discipline them by delaying gratification. This includes keeping them from spending too much screen time until they are old enough to control their habits themselves. Teach them the value of waiting as young as they are.
7. Resourcefulness and creativity
Resourcefulness and creativity are traits that a lot of businesses look for their employees, and this can be developed as young as childhood. And by the way, this is not just being artistic – it involves imagination, finding solutions to problems, and thinking out of the box. When you all needs are met, your children may not often grow up being resourceful – and when you have Internet and every kind of gadget, it’s not helpful in building resourcefulness and creativity. As a parent, you should work to nurture your trait in your children. For example, you can foster their creativity by making time for creative activities like making DIY projects, photography, drawing and painting.
Computer games, especially violent ones, can make your child desensitized, numbed and indifferent. It is important to give them age-appropriate games, or monitor what they are playing in the computer. It is important for your son to have a compassionate outlook, because this is definitely a desirable character trait to find in any person, as opposed to indifference or a ruthless disposition. Cultivating compassion in your son’s hearts can help them to grow as happy, caring and emphatic adults.
There is a responsibility that you can entrust with your son, whatever his age his. Give him a chore that requires daily attention, like making coffee for you, locking the doors, walking the dog or taking out the garbage. Then teach him to follow it through. Helping him be dependable on one thing as early as possible makes it easy for him to grow up to be a reliable, dependable and responsible person. You can’t teach a child to be dependable by letting him play in front of a screen all day during weekends.
Contentment is a crucial ingredient to happiness. It’s a good character trait to have so your son won’t grow up demanding and unhappy. You can give them all they need, yet still not be contented with what they have. Spend some time to give your kids a humble perspective in life so that they can be content with what they have.
However, there’s a thin line between contentment and lack of ambition. Thread carefully – you can compliment your son for giving effort in his studies or anything he achieves, but encourage him to dream higher and bigger. Teach him to set goals and help him strive to achieve it. But when your child doesn’t reach that goal, don’t beat him up and make him feel sorry for himself. This will help avoid having an adult who is over-ambitious but very stressed and unhappy.
Teaching a child to have confidence is important, as this will boost his positive self-esteem, good behavior and overall happiness. This is vital to hone his social skills, leadership skills and other important characteristics to excel in school and in the workplace. There’s a strong relation to how your child feels about himself and how he acts, so it helps to verbally praise your child. But avoid overdoing it, because excessive praise will even do worse. Life will give you precious moments when what you say will really make an impact to your child. Also, allowing your child to fail at times can help him overcome obstacles on his own.
Seeing your son being grateful for all the things you do to them and all the things you provide for them is a wonderful feeling that no amount of money can ever give. Let your son be thankful for all the things and people that he has in this life. Model this by appreciating every effort, starting with your wife or the mother of your son. Let your son hear the words “thank you” from you. Also, say thanks every time you ask him to do something for you, and thanks whenever he gives you something.