Character Contract Update: 2, 3, & 4

Items 2, 3, & 4 of the “Character Contract” go together, so I’m posting today’s blog to update parents on them all.

This activity really relies on parents to help students think critically about their own behavior. Help them ask themselves, “Do I do these things already, or do I need to break some bad habits?”

2,3,4 of the Character Contract
2,3,4 of the Character Contract

It’s not a terribly long post, so click “more” for details!!

Items from week 2 & 3 deal with helping our students to respect others’ space and property. It’s up to each individual to ask to use another person’s things or enter their space.

Learning to respect family members’ property will translate to a better sense of boundaries outside of the home. Children who can respect others’ space & property will be less likely to take things from others or trespass and vandalize. They will learn to recognize boundaries and respect others.

Number 4 deals with respecting a person’s “no” answer. This can be SO hard for kids! (And adults!) When they get a no, they’re tempted to just take what they want, or negotiate for it.

  • We definitely don’t want them to just take whatever they want, especially after they’ve been told no. That just sets them up for future behavior problems, because they’ll believe it’s okay to just take without respecting the other person.
  • Negotiating can be acceptable–in SOME situations. Other times it can be sneaky, or lead to someone taking advantage of the other person.

So, for number 4 I asked them to try exercising their self-control, which we talked about in Week 1 of the Character Contract. I said, “If you catch yourself starting to argue, just use your self-control. Instead of arguing, accept the person’s answer.”

I taught them a phrase for dealing with answers we don’t like: “Maybe next time.” This is a great, positive way for kids to deal with a no answer. Maybe their sibling doesn’t want to share a game or toy, or maybe Mom doesn’t want to buy ice cream. By saying, “Maybe next time,” they can accept and move on.

The whole idea in the Character Contract is that the kids should try to make these choices on their own. The younger they are, the more guidance they’ll need to help make the right choices.

It’s all about improving, so even if they make a mistake, that’s okay.  Apply consequences as you see fit, but more importantly, discuss how to make a better choice next time!!

I love this activity, because it’s all about them examining their own behavior. We’re going to do some self-evaluation towards the middle and end of the 14-week program. Stay tuned!

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