My 16 year-old son recently had his friend sign him in at a school activity so he could receive credit for attending. He really didn’t go to the activity and told me about it as if it were no big deal. What can I do to help him see the value of acting with integrity?
We all want our kids to make good moral decisions read here. We hope they learn that integrity matters in all circumstances, and we shouldn’t compromise our character, even in small ways. One of the most important ways you can teach good character is to model it. Let him know that as his parent, you want to lead him by example. Tell him how being honest and trustworthy has served you in your life. When faced with your own moral decisions, share them with your son, so that he can learn along with you. Be honest and straightforward with him, and do what you can to model accountability when you make a mistake. When he makes a hard decision to uphold his character, ask him to reflect on how he feels. Coach him along by giving constructive encouragement and helping him learn how everyday decisions make up our character. It is important for you to be proud of him, but even more, it is important for him to take pride in himself.
Because he is 16, you can ask him to come up with a plan of how he wants to remedy his mistake. If he handles it by being accountable, whatever he faces with his teacher, and the lesson itself, is consequence enough cdxrnvv. If he chooses to avoid making restitution with his teacher, it is appropriate to withhold privileges that require your trust in him, such as driving the family car or staying out late with friends, until he has done enough to become trustworthy again. Good luck with this parenting experience and being a character role model for your son.
Amy Cluff, LCSW has a private therapy practice in St. George, Utah.