Good character traits are what every parent wants for their kids. We all know and believe that this can set them up for good, healthy, successful and happy lives. If we let go of the belief that character is something we are born with, something that is carved in stone, we realize that we, as parents, have the power to instill positive character in our kids.
We can give our kids those traits that they are going to need to run a happy and successful life, by instilling strong beliefs that support and build these good character traits.
In the Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children (A to G), I gave examples of good character traits and the beliefs that support them. Here are the H- Z (well, H to W, at least) traits and the beliefs that will support them.
Positive thoughts/beliefs to help your child develop good character traits (H to Z)
- Healthy – “I take care of my body. My body is the vehicle which I use to travel in this life and I want the ride to be smooth and fun. I feed my body good food, good drinks and good thoughts. I rest enough and keep in shape”.
- Helpful – “I am very friendly and I help others even without being asked”, “Helping others is a sign that I am kind”, “If I help others, they are more likely to help me when I need help”.
- Honest -“When I tell the truth, my friends, my family and my teachers trust me”, “Telling the truth does not mean sharing my opinion about everything. I share my opinion without hurting others”.
- Happy – “I am a happy person. I am happy to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind and a choice. I choose to be happy!”, “I dedicate time every day to doing things that make me happy”, “My happiness depends on me and I can make myself happy”.
- Humble – “I am proud of my successes but I do not show them off, especially around people who don’t have what I have or are not as successful as me”, “People like humble people”.
- Hopeful – “When I think of the future, I have a basic belief that things will be alright and even if things are not right now, I am able to imagine a positive future and go towards it”, “Hopeful people are stronger than those who cannot imagine a positive future”, “If I keep moving and keep progressing, even in small movements and small steps, I will be fine”.
- Imaginative – “I have a good imagination and it makes me very creative. I can imagine a good future. I can imagine good times. I can imagine visions and sounds and am very good at it”, ” People with good imaginations are good problem solvers”, “To the brain, imagination works exactly like the real thing. If I imagine that I am successful, my brain thinks I am successful and it makes me feel good”.
- Independent – “I try to do things by myself as much as I can. I try to plan ahead and do things by myself without counting on others to do things for me. I think trying to do the things that are hard for me makes me stronger and more able, so I give it a try. If I get stuck, I can always ask for help”, “The fact that I don’t know everything does not mean that I can’t do things. From every attempt, I learn more. Next time, I will get better”.
- Intelligent – “I am smart. I know many things and my knowledge grows every day. The more I learn, the more I implement what I have learned and the smarter I become”, “Being intelligent is not only about being good at school. It is about being good at something”, “Intelligence can be developed and promoted”, “There are different kinds of intelligence: intellectual intelligence, social intelligence and emotional intelligence. I can improve my intelligence with every experience and every opportunity to learn that I take”.
- Loving – “I like people. I have warm feelings towards others. I love the people close to me and I express this love freely. The more I love, the more loved I feel. Love gives me strength and confidence. It brings out the best in me and when I love others and show it, it brings out the best in them”.
- Loyal – “I am a very good friend. I am a good child to my parents and good student. I do not gossip about people behind their backs. I think about people I care about, even if they are not around”.
- Observant – “I pay attention to things. I listen more than I speak. I notice patterns and details.”
- Optimistic – “Every day is a fresh start. After I sleep, I can start all over again and am sure that things will turn out OK. If something is wrong, it is temporary. I can always change it. When I am sad, I help myself feel better by thinking of things that are good in my life and the good things I hope the future will bring”.
- Peaceful/Peacemaker – “I never start a fight. When other kids fight, I try to help them talk things through without fighting. If there is conflict, I use compromising strategies rather than forcing others to do things my way. I have the courage to stand up for children who are being teased”.
- Persistent – “It is OK to make mistakes. I do my best to learn from them and try again. If I learn from my mistakes and try again and again, I will succeed”.
- Polite – “I appreciate people’s time and what they do for me. I take turns and I always say “please” when I ask for something and “thank you!” after someone does something for me. I use my manners and it makes others treat me with respect”.
- Positive – “I see the good in everything that happens to me”.
- Reliable – “I never cheat or steal. When I say I will do something, I try my best to do it!”
- Respectful – “I treat others the way I want to be treated. I treat others with respect. I respect myself and others and follow my conscience. Even if people think and do things differently to me, I still respect them for having their opinion”.
- Responsible – “I am very responsible. I take on challenges and I stretch myself to achieve them. I know that I am responsible for my knowledge, feelings and thoughts and it gives me the power to learn, feel and think whatever I want”.
- Smart – “I am smart and I value learning. I’m smart with my schooling, with my relationship and with my time”.
- Sociable – “I am friendly. I am kind to my friends and they like being with me”.
- Sensitive – “I remember what others tell me about themselves and I take it into consideration in my communication with them. I try not to show off, or bring up topics that will make them feel sad or embarrassed. I pay attention to the way they behave and their body language to learn the things that makes them happy and the things that makes them feel sad. I try to help them feel better about themselves”.
- Safe – “I take care of myself and never do anything to hurt myself or others”.
- Satisfied – “It is easy for others to make me happy. I am happy about every tiny thing. If people don’t do what I expect them to do, I know it is not because they didn’t want to but mainly because they couldn’t. If they could have, they would have”.
- Trustworthy – “If I say something, I mean it. People can trust me with my promises, with time commitments, with keeping a secret, with being honest and truthful”.
- Talented – “I have many skills and talents and I improve them constantly”, “Talent does not mean I have to be artistic or sporty. I can be talented in making friends or in thinking or cooking. Talent means I am good at something”, “Everyone is good at something”.
- Tolerant -“I show understanding to the way people behave. Even if they are different to me and do things that I wouldn’t do myself, I still show understanding. I know they must have had a reason to do it”, “If people do not agree with me, it means nothing about the validity of my thoughts and believes”.
- Unique – “I am unique and special and there is no one like me in the world. I am the one and only me. I do not need to compromise on who I am in order to try to be like someone else”, ” do not need to show off my uniqueness so others think that I am unique”, “I never hurt myself to be perceived as special”, “I am happy to be special”, “I am one of a kind”, ” I adopt thoughts and ideas that are in line with my core beliefs. I never give up those beliefs and values just to please others or to make them accept me” (I have dedicated an entire book to these beliefs. Be Special, Be Yourself for Teenagers is a book that helps teens realize they are unique and special and that compromising their values just to be accepted is going to be painful. It helps them learn that they can be special just by being themselves).
- Wise – “I make good choices. I consider my options. I am aware of my abilities, my strength and weaknesses. I do my best and accept when things don’t happen exactly like I want them to happen”.
Watering the plants of good character traits with weed killer
Usually, when I write a list of beliefs that help children (and even adults) build good character traits, I focus on the good. I focus on the positive traits and the helpful beliefs. The reason I focus on the good and not the bad is because I believe that in life, you get what you focus on. If we focus on good things, we’ll get more of them.
Recently, I talked to some parents who didn’t understand how the things they say can poison the seeds of good beliefs and good character traits. We did an exercise on beliefs and all I heard was poison. In their mind, parenting meant preventing their kids from developing “bad” character traits. It wasn’t about how their parenting could help form good character traits. This kind of attitude is like trying to water the plants of good character traits with weed killer. As parents, we need to be careful what we say to our children. Some of the things we say can have a huge impact on the beliefs our children adopt. And every time we say it, the plant gets watered. It is like watering the plant with weed killer and then complaining that it is not growing or producing flowers.
This made me realize that I need to focus on the nature of weed killers. Some parents suggested we come up with a list of phrases that parents say that function as weed killers. Join me next time when I cover the things parents should never, ever, say to their kids if they want to develop essential traits in their children.
This post is part of the series Helping Kids Build Character:
- Helping Kids Build Healthy and Powerful Character Traits
- Healthy and Powerful Character Traits for Children (A to G)
- Developing Good Character Traits for Children: H to Z
- Positive Character Traits for Children: Watering with Weed Killer
- How to Destroy Good Character Traits for Children: A to F
- How to Destroy Good Character Traits in Children: G-Z
- Kids’ Personality Traits: How to Change Them with Awareness
- Character Traits: Swapping the Bad for the Good