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Ethical Parenting: Guiding Kids in a Moral Maze

Updated: Jul 12

What are Ethics? 

In simple terms, ethics is how our brain knows what's right and wrong. It's that inner voice that warns us when we're about to do something immoral or bad.

Growing up, children are like a blank page in a storybook that is yet to be written. While children hold the pen to their story, the ink is provided by us; by the atmosphere and environment created around them, and by the treatment they receive. 

Ethical parenting

Parents play an important role in determining what kind of ‘ink’ the child absorbs. The behavior and language they use amongst themselves and with others creates study material for the children, who learn from what they see. Their blank pages denote that they need inspiration from somewhere, and the people they trust most for this inspiration are their parents. 

Imagine this scenario

You're hosting a party with friends, some bringing their preschoolers. Your child has a toy that catches another child's eye. What follows is a classic toddler tug-of-war over the toy, complete with tears and chaos.

How parents handle this moment is crucial. If they side with their child, scolding the other without acknowledging both sides, it can foster a sense of superiority that's harmful.

Instead, if parents calmly intervene, encouraging the children to share and play together, they promote a more friendly and cooperative attitude, setting the stage for happier friendships in the future.

Ethical Dilemma

An Ethical Dilemma is a situation in which a person is faced with a difficult choice between two or more options, all of which may be morally acceptable but may conflict with one another. These dilemmas arise when there is a conflict between ethical principles, values, duties, or obligations, making it challenging to determine the right course of action.

The beginning of a child’s schooling is the true test of their ethics and their conscience, the voice of reason. The school creates many such situations where a child is expected to make a decision and identify the right, the good, and the kinder thing to do. 

There are four children in a dance class, all of them very good friends. However, one of the kids doesn't dance very well and is often teased by two of the other children. This teasing soon escalates into bullying. The fourth child feels bad and guilty about the situation but is afraid to speak up, worried that his friends might take offense and start bullying him as well.

Now this friend is going through an ethical dilemma, he is not sure what thought process to follow. Should he support the singled-out friend at the cost of his friendship, or should he ignore the little voice inside his head? 

Read more about Bullying click here.

How Can Parents Teach Ethics?

Introduce Hypothetical Ethical Dilemmas:

For instance, ask your child how they would respond if they saw someone cheating during a game. Discuss why honesty is crucial and how their actions impact fairness.

Lead by Example:

Show kindness by assisting a neighbor in need, illustrating to your child the significance of compassion and helpfulness in daily interactions.

Set Clear Expectations:

Establish family rules on sharing toys and taking turns. Explain why fairness and respect are essential for enjoyable playtime together.

Provide Moral Guidance:

If your child accidentally breaks something, emphasize the importance of honesty in admitting mistakes and taking responsibility. Learning from a mistake will help them handle a similar situation with ease.

Simulate Real-Life Scenarios:

Ask your child what they would do if they found a lost wallet on the playground. Discuss the importance of honesty and returning it to the rightful owner.

Encourage Decision-Making:

Present a scenario where a classmate is being bullied and ask your child how they would respond. Discuss the importance of standing up for others and showing kindness.

Promote Deeper Conversations:

Use situations like deciding whether to admit to breaking a household item to discuss the significance of honesty and accountability.

Foster Critical Thinking:

Encourage your child to consider how their actions, such as sharing toys or including a new student in a game, impact their friends and classmates.

Relatable Scenarios:

Use examples from their daily life, such as dealing with peer pressure to cheat on a test, to prepare them for handling real ethical dilemmas.

Develop Ethical Awareness:

Discuss everyday examples, like why telling the truth is important even when it’s challenging, to help children understand ethical decision-making.

Practical Applications:

Use common situations, like choosing to play fair in a game or helping a friend in need, to teach children how to make ethical decisions.

Continuous Learning:

Integrate ethical decision-making into daily routines, such as discussing fairness and sharing during family game night.

Encourage Reflection:

Prompt your child to reflect on their actions, like how they handled disagreements or helped a classmate, to understand the consequences on themselves and others.

Ethical Parenting


In conclusion, instilling ethical values in children is crucial for their development as responsible and compassionate individuals. Parents play a pivotal role in teaching ethics by demonstrating fairness, empathy, and integrity in their interactions with their children and others. Ethical decision-making is a subjective practice that children must learn to navigate, and it is essential to guide them in identifying right from wrong in various situations. By fostering ethical behavior in children from an early age, we can help shape their future relationships and decision-making processes.


Learner Circle 

Learner Circle is a live online platform that offers various skill-based activities for children. We are committed to creating a nurturing environment with valuable resources to help shape a brighter future for the children.  Our mission is to guide children toward becoming well-rounded individuals. We help learners discover possibilities, pursue their passions, and achieve their potential.

To learn more about the learner circle, click here

To book a free demo session, click here.

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