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By Andrew Mullins
Character is very much the sum total of our good habits - habits such as compassion, honesty, optimism, generosity and loyalty.
Parenting for Character is a practical manual to help parents develop in their children qualities necessary for a happy and fulfilling adult life. These include sound judgement, responsibility, self-control, integrity, perseverance, courage and resilience.
In this book, Andrew Mullins, Headmaster of Redfield College, Sydney, argues that parents need to help build character: it does not just evolve. He explores how to encourage young people to think independently and make choices that are good for themselves and others. In his experience, young people are damaged by too readily accepting their peer group's values or messages from the media. They are able to take control of their lives once they acquire well-developed habits of thinking, decision-making and acting. The advice for parents in Parenting for Character is clear and simple: lead by example, ensure that good habits are encouraged repeatedly, nurture the spiritual dimension in your life, and show love and affection to your partner and children.
The book draws on parenting principles from classical times to the present and offers advice from many sources including Plato, Aristotle, Plutarch, Confucius, Cicero, Goethe, Winston Churchill and John Paul II.
This book is essential reading for any parent who wishes to develop good character in their children. Andrew Mullins offers direction and encouragement to parents who want their children to be socially responsible and morally strong. In an engaging way, Parenting for Character offers practical advice on how to raise children of quality.'
Dr Tim Hawkes, Headmaster, The King's School, and author of Boy Oh Boy
Effective quality parenting is incorrectly labelled by society as "assumed knowledge". Andrew Mullins helps parents erect scaffolds and to continually assess "work in progress". Parenting for Character is essential reading for all parents!'
Michael Quinlan, Principal, James Ruse Agricultural High School.
About the Author
Andrew Mullins career has included over 25 years' teaching the humanities in Australian secondary schools, leading to his interest in presenting the wisdom of classic thinkers and philosophers. In his position as headmaster of Redfield College, Sydney, he has developed a strong policy of involving parents in the process of reflecting desirable values to young people. He writes: "My experience is that parents who keep their focus on these priorities, patiently and lovingly, give their children something of incalculable worth. The Talmud, a type of ancient Jewish guidebook for life, sums it all up: 'The one great requisite is character'. Plutarch, the famous Greek historian writing in Roman times, knew how to cut to essentials: 'Character', he wrote, 'is simply strongly established habit'." This book had its origins in a series of successful talks presented to parents.
ContentsPart 1: Parenting foundations
Principles of raising children with character
1 Create unity in the home
2 Build up habits of affection with each child
3 Have high but reasonable expectations
4 Lead by example
5 Create customs of close parent-child communication
6 Manage the inputs
7 Let your child wear his or her mistakes
8 Place a high priority on honesty
9 Enjoy family life
10 Be convinced that love and correction are not opposites
11 Commit to building good habits in your son or daughter
Assess your own parenting
Part 2: Good habits - the building blocks of character
Not one more theory of how children should be educated
Benefits of habits of good behaviour
Repeated behaviours become second nature
We are the sum of our established habits
Good habits and parenting
The four powers - foundation habits for happiness
1 Sound judgement
3 Self control
Importance of a spiritual dimension
Review your child's good habits
Part 3: Forging good habits
Raise children who can take control of their own lives
1 Establish routines and be consistent
2 Delegate, even if it takes more time to get the job done
3 Teach that actions should be motivated by love
4 Don't let bad habits accumulate
5 Don't do the thinking for your child
6 Model the qualities you want to pass on
7 Clearly teach what is right and wrong
8 Help your children build good habits in their younger years
9 Make character building the aim of children's sport
10 Show your children that hard lessons can be the best lessons
11 Keep focused on sincerity and generosity - habits for our heads and our hearts
12 Teach detachment from material things
13 Focus on causes and consequences
Part 4: Raising teenagers with strength of character
Address the needs of teenage children
Reject any negative view of adolescence
How to raise teenagers with strength of character
1 Own up to your innermost values
2 Show that your values bring you happiness
3 Realise that teenagers are changing on the inside first
4 Require teenagers to think, not to do
5 Help your teenager internalise the process of developing good habits
6 Find new ways to keep communicating
7 Address issues
8 Explain reasons
9 Don't underestimate the impact of the peer group
10 Look for reinforcement from your son's or daughter's school
11 Seek out mentors who have the confidence of your teenager
12 Focus on resilience
13 Prepare your son or daughter for relationships and sexuality
14 Give your teenager affection, affection, and more affection
15 Teach peace in the face of the very greatest challenges