4 Ways to Help Your Child Develop WisdomAmber Brandt
At National Heritage Academies, we work hard to offer our scholars a well-rounded education that includes challenging academics, as well as an emphasis on interpersonal skills and values to help them become kind, empathetic humans. Each month we focus on a particular moral virtue, and September’s is Wisdom.
Wisdom is often associated with senior adults because it’s typically gained from experiences and acquired over time. At its core, wisdom is an ability to take the knowledge you have and translate it into good decisions, discerning what is right and wrong. The good news is that wisdom isn’t reserved for old age. Even with their limited life experiences, children can demonstrate wisdom when they put good sense into action, find solutions to conflicts, or weigh their options and arrive at a logical conclusion. Good decision making is the cornerstone to becoming responsible and independent.
Here are a few ways you can foster wisdom and good decision-making in your kids:
- Lead by example. Have you ever heard that most values are “caught not taught?” This phrase emphasizes that children learn by observing you every day. Sure, they hear what you say, but the unconscious messages you send also resonate with them. If they see you weighing your options before making an important decision, or you share with them your process for arriving at a particular conclusion, they’ll see wisdom operating in real time. And don’t be afraid to tell them about past mistakes you made. You may just help them avoid repeating the same ones.
- Allow natural consequences to play out. Watching your child struggle or make a poor choice is one of the hardest parts of parenting. However, it’s important to allow your child to make mistakes when the stakes are low. If it’s your child’s responsibility to grab their lunch before leaving the house, they’ll only forget it once! Mistakes allow us to learn and try to make better decisions in the future.
- Stay involved with your child and their learning. Children grow up and change every day, but the more you talk and stay connected, the easier it will be to identify their strengths and interests. When your child shows an affinity, you can introduce them to leaders in that sport or area of study to emulate. Help them develop a long-term view of the future. When they know what success can look like, they’re more likely to make better short-term decisions along the way.
- Stay aware of their friend group. No matter our age, we tend to become like the company we keep. Your child’s world revolves around their social interactions and circle of friends, and they can be largely influenced by their peers. Help your child process the attributes they’re looking for in a friend so they can make a wise choice.