Many parents wait until the heat of the moment to teach their children character traits. Classic example; their child hits another kid on the playground. Embarrassed and ashamed the parent says to them, “We don’t hit! Say you are sorry.” Emotions may rise up in the parent and on the way home they will heatedly explain, in full detail, why they should have not hit another child.

Parenting out of emotion is dangerous and non-effective. Our children can pick up on our frustration and will most likely not listen to a word we are saying. They will shut down, causing more tension between the two.

Instead, when there is no conflict happening, is the perfect time to teach and explain. Set aside a time each day in your homeschool schedule to teach manners and behavior. Or, if you are more laid back and relaxed, then diligently become aware of what you want to teach your child and look for opportunities to do so.

When an issue does arise, keep your cool, provide the proper disciplinary action and wait until another time to address the issue in more detail. A time when both you and your child are calm. Sometimes children can simply tell by the tone of our voice that we are upset and angry, so they will shut down.

It’s true. I get extremely disappointment when I see my child doing something in an area that I honestly thought that they knew better. It’s tempting to fly off the handle, (and I have more times than I would like to admit). I have noticed though, significant and genuine change when I calmly deal with an issue at another time. If I notice that my child struggles with getting angry and yelling at his brother then I bring it up during a peaceful moment of the day. I gently take him aside, alone, and talk to him about loving his brother and treating him kindly. This is the time that I share scriptures with him about treating others the way that he would want to be treated or how when we are angry we are to sin not. I then provide him with a solution of what to do when he feels the anger rising and wants to yell at his brother.

I encourage him that when he starts to get angry then he should leave the room and go into his room and read or color. I provide him with something to keep his mind focused on something else so he doesn’t just lie around thinking about how mad he is at his brother. Then, when the issue arises, he will know that there is a way out, like the Bible says. He may be tempted, but he can take a different route instead. It might take some time to break out of a routine but if you ingrain it into their brain in peace, gentleness and love then they will eventually get it and change direction.

Don’t wait until the conflict come to teach. When soldiers go to war, in general, they have already been prepared. They have practiced and have been warned about what they might face. We all have trials in our life to overcome and so do our children. Whether it’s selfishness, anger, jealousy or other issues, they will come up. Prepare your child ahead of time so they won’t be ashamed and afraid when these ugly issues come to the surface. And when they do, don’t make a big deal out of them when you are angry, but simply pray for wisdom to know how to teach them, lead them and guide them through it during the peaceful moments.

Here’s one resource you can use to help teach character in your family.