Tips to Help Teach Loyalty
Teaching loyalty doesn't have to be the most difficult aspect of raising your children. Unfortunately, topics like loyalty tend to be forgotten by our society today, putting more of the teaching responsibility on parents.
With a good attitude, a plan of action and a combination of determination and persistence, you can easily teach your children the value of remaining loyal to family and friends.
A couple of strategies for teaching loyalty:
- As with all positive character traits, you have to exercise them to teach them. Show loyalty to teach loyalty. You can be an example of loyalty through simple things like shopping at the same grocery store every week, refraining from gossip about friends or family members or helping out their school can all be opportunities to show loyalty.
- As a family, create special traditions that your children can look forward to and remember fondly. If you have older children, invite them to present their ideas for new family traditions.
- Develop a sense of community within your home and family for your children. As they feel like they're part of a family community, they'll take ownership of and develop loyalty to the unit. This can be done easily by placing formal and informal pictures of the family throughout the house on places like walls, refrigerators or any other place where they can be seen easily.
- Children need to learn how to address and work through conflicts. Use conflict resolution to address conflicts. This will teach your children that just because a conflict arises, the relationship between the two parties doesn't need to end. Again, practice conflict resolution in your life to act as an example of loyalty towards others.
- Your family history offers a wonderful opportunity to make your children feel connected and loyal to their family. Try to avoid being boring or preachy in order to maintain their interest. Use casual moments to connect your child's experiences to those of another member of the family. For example, if your child enjoys baseball, use that to remind him of a relative who succeeded in baseball.
- Finally, one of the most important things you can do to teach loyalty is to do activities together as a family. Bring the siblings to each other's events like sports games, recitals, etcetera. This offers them the opportunity to be involved in each other's lives and shows support for one another. You can also plan family activities like camping, shopping or something everyone can enjoy.
Some activities to help illustrate loyalty to children:
The Pick-the-Right-Answer Game (Preschool Age Children)
- Make two cards; one that has the word "Loyal" on it, and one that has the word "Disloyal" on it
- Explain to your children that you're going to tell them a short story about a couple different people and that you want the child to pick the word that best describes how the person is acting or behaving.
Several examples to get you started could be:
- Janet's school class planned to have a car wash in the school parking lot to raise money. Those who could were asked to come and help, but no one had to come. Janet came and brought some towels and a bucket. (Loyal -- to her school.)
- Tammy was with two girls on the bus one day when one of the girls said some bad things that weren't true about Tammy's best friend, Jill. Tammy didn't say anything. (Disloyal – to her friend.)
Be sure that you discuss with your child why the people are showing loyalty or disloyalty and if the person is disloyal, what they could have done differently.
The True and False Loyalty Discussion (Elementary Age Children)
This is a good way to help children see the difference between loyalty and "not ratting." Explain that some children get the idea that loyalty to friends means "not telling on them" or "keeping quiet" or even lying to protect them. This is "false loyalty." Explain that if someone has done something wrong, a truly loyal friend would try to get him to admit it, and if that didn't work, he would tell someone. If neither happens, the friend will probably keep doing wrong and get in more serious trouble.