Andrew Mullins is the Author of Parenting for Character (2005) Finch Publishing. Through his extensive experience as a School Principal, where he regularly counsels parents, he has distilled his wisdom into a short article for CathFamily. The following is an excerpt.
1. Be united with your spouse.
Unity between spouses makes parenting more likely to succeed.
“There is nothing better in this world than that man and wife should be of one mind in a house.” (Homer The Odyssey)
2. Be honest about the underlying values in one’s life
“Your son must see that your values make you happy.” (Prof. David Isaacs, Character Building)
“Why should children be happy with their lot when parents complain about theirs?” (Barbara Holborow, Former Childrens’ Court Magistrate.)
3. Teach right and wrong
“My mother, I am no longer a child, I know the difference between right and wrong.” (Homer, The Odyssey)
4. Give best example in everything
“It’s amazing how high some parents put the crossbar for their kids and how low they put it for themselves.” (Jack Gibson. Rugby League Coach)
Give unconditional love and encouragement
“Every piece of research on effective childhood socialisation identifies two broad parameters, emotional support (affection) and limit setting….” (Prof. Don Edgar RMIT Centre for Workplace Culture Change)
6. Don’t indulge your kids
“All the surveys show that beyond a certain level of income, happiness doesn’t increase.” (John Menadue Things you learn on the way)
7. Have high but specific expectations
“First Corollary to the Law of Domestic Expectations: Mum shouldn’t do anything anyone else can do, and if no one else can do it, then teach ‘em how.” (One Sydney Mum)
8. Manage the inputs
“Remove indecent pictures and speech from the stage and from the sight and hearing of the young.” (Aristotle 384-322BC)
9. Talk about ideals and causes and live those ideals and causes
“Your son must experience the joy that comes from serving others” (Prof. David Isaacs Character Building)
10. Focus on building virtues
Lay the foundations for virtue with consistency, routines, clear expectations and timetables.
“Happiness is the reward of virtue” (Aristotle 384-322BC)