Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The 3 Most Difficult Life Lessons to Teach your Children

Being a parent has two sides..
You learn something new everyday for your children - About yourself, your child and the world
And you teach something new everyday to your children - About themselves, About the world, About people, About life...

And as a mother, I can say that some lessons are harder to teach than the others..
So what are the 3 Most Difficult Lessons to Teach your Children

Lesson 1 : The Difference Between Right and Wrong
Right and Wrong are typically supposed to Black and White... And if something is so distinctly clear, then it should be easy to teach it to anyone right?
But life's not like that.. There is Black, White and umpteen shades of gray...
So things are
Undeniably Right,
Arguably Right,
Partly Right,
Partly Wrong,
Acceptable Wrong and
Unacceptable Wrong
And there-in lies the challenge...

Simply because a lot of these "rights and wrongs" tend to be personal, situational, contextual, circumstantial and consequential...
And hence very complex to comprehend and also extremely challenging to really teach any child

And the best way to teach this to your children is to be a living example of what you want them to be and more importantly explain the rationale of your choices and decisions. Trust me! They do listen and understand! And learn better when they really understand where you're coming from

Lesson 2 : Self-Control
Self-Control is really about controlling your thoughts, your emotions, your behavior, your reactions, your responses and your desires. And that is probably one of the most difficult virtues for anyone to build in the journey of life.

The fact of the matter is that most of us find it really hard to be self-controlled all the time. We are self-controlled sometimes, but sometimes self-control is really tough!
And the thing about self-control is that it is hard to theorize and teach. It is about learning, doing, practice, actions, improvements and most importantly about awareness of yourself.

And the best way to get your children to develop self-control is to be self-controlled yourself : No matter what! (It's tough for adults too). Typically, children emulate what they see in adults and in the world around them.

Lesson 3 : Self-Discipline
If you read or hear about the life of anyone who achieved anything worthwhile, one of the key characteristic that will stand out is "Self-Discipline". Self-Discipline is one of most precious and powerful asset for those who cultivate it; and consequently lack of self-discipline is a personal liability.

The sad reality of today is that Self-Discipline is a dying virtue; and very few people are really disciplined about the way they conduct their lives. And the reason why it is difficult to help your children build this virtue is because there are so few "real-life" role-models that they can look, observe and emulate from. Hence it is extremely difficult to get your children build and enhance their own self-discipline.

And the best way to get your children to be self-disciplined is to be a role model yourself. If you are disciplined about the way you conduct your life, chances are they will end up disciplined themselves.

And as a parent if you are successful in teaching the above lessons to your children
I think that's a great legacy you can leave for your children

That's my view.. What's yours? Leave a comment to let me know

Originally published here


  1. Nice post. All 3 very important and critical lessons that we must teach our children, no matter what.

    Loved how you managed to simplify all 3 lessons in such a crisp, easy to read post though :D

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it. Nischala

  2. Hi Nischala - I have also written a post about what we can learn from our children and what lessons we can pass down to them. It is interesting how to impart these lessons without being harsh to our children.

    1. Good to hear! Yes - It is a 2 way process. As a parent, you are both a teacher and a student! - Nischala

  3. On the difference between Right and Wrong...could you please go back to "your" childhood? Did you know about shades of gray? Doubt it. Did your friends? Doubt it. For me, what used to be seen as terribly Wrong, say some words from a friend, or a push or a shove, would mostly be forgotten about the next day. I remained innocent in that sense for a long long time. Somehow, I see explaining shades of gray to kids as taking away their innocence, whatever is left of it.

    1. Valid point. The thing is for things like Truth V/s Lies : Children should be able to differentiate and distinguish from childhood. If they don't understand these at a young age, chances are they will never learn these lessons! And I think children of today *NATURALLY* understand the many gray shades - I speak from personal experience! Nischala