How to build child's character
Do not reduce character education to words alone.
We gain virtue through practice. Parents should help children by promoting moral action through self-discipline, good work habits, kind and considerate behavior to others, and community service. The bottom line in character development is behavior--their behavior. If your child is too young for real humanitarian behavior, you can always teach your child to be kind toward others, no matter his age.
Develop an ear and an eye for what your children are absorbing.
Children are like sponges. Much of what they take in has to do with moral values and character. Books, songs, TV, the Internet, and films are continually delivering messages—moral and immoral—to our children. As parents we must control the flow of ideas and images that are influencing our children.
Be a good role model.
Face it: human beings learn primarily through modeling. In fact, you can’t avoid being an example to your children, whether good or bad. Being a good example, then, is probably your most important job. If you yell at your child and then tell her never to yell, kick the wall when you're angry, or make mean comments about your neighbors, your child will think that this behavior is okay.
Start being a good role model from day one. Your child will be aware of your moods and behavior earlier than you think.
Teach good manners.
Teaching your child to say "Thank you," and "please," and to treat others with a baseline of respect will go a long way in helping them succeed in the future. Don't underestimate the power of teaching your child to be kind to adults, to respect their elders, and to avoid fighting with or picking on other children. Good manners will follow your children for the rest of their lives, and you should start modeling it as soon as possible.
One crucial aspect of good manners is cleaning up after yourself. Teach your child to clean up after his own toys when he's three, and he'll make a great house guest when he's twenty-three.
Only use the words you want your children to use.
Though you may feel the urge to curse, complain, or say negative things about a person you know in front of your child, even if you're just talking on the phone, remember that your child is always paying attention. And if you're having a heated argument with your spouse, it's better to do it behind closed doors so your child can't mimic your negative behavior.
If you do use a bad word and your child notices it, don't pretend like it did not happen. Apologize and say it won't happen again. If you say nothing, then your child will think these words are okay.
Teach your children to have empathy for others.
Empathy is an important skill and one that you can never teach too early. If your child knows how to have empathy for others, then he'll be able to see the world from a more judgment-free perspective and will be able to put himself in someone else's shoes. Let's say your child comes home and tells you that his friend Jimmy was mean to him; try to talk about what happened and see if you can figure out how Jimmy might be feeling and what led to the negative behavior. Or, if a waitress forgets your order in a restaurant, don't tell your child that she's lazy or stupid; instead, point out how tired she must be after spending all day on her feet.