on July 4, 2001
While I still maintain a child can best learn from a positive example, unfortunately in today's society, not all parents are setting positive examples. I have counselled many children over the years and in a vast majority of cases, what has contributed most to the need for counselling in the first place has been the absence or lack of adequate parenting skills. There are excellent parents in existence, for many it comes naturally. For others, they never "get the act together." Some individuals, for whatever reason, simply do not possess the bonding ability, tolerance, time, energy, understanding and financial resources to raise a child for the first eighteen years of their life. There are also those parents who feel they are doing "everything right" when in reality, they may be making every mistake in the book.
When a child has become so unhappy, emotionally insecure, rude, defiant and/or physically abusive that the parent(s) can no longer deal with their child, he/she is inevitably pointed in the direction of a counsellor, either by the parent(s) or the courts, to miraculously "fix the problem." In many cases, had the child been raised in a positive, loving, nurturing, understanding, respectful and accepting environment, and learned the importance of moral intelligence, the child would not be sitting in front of me at all. Good relationships, whether it be husband and wife, parent(s) and child, do not just happen. They need time, open communication, commitment, love, understanding, encouragement and a lot of work if they are to grow and survive. "Building Moral Intelligence..." is an excellent learning tool for young, inexperienced parents or any parent who chooses to expand their knowledge on the subject. This book does not have all the answers, no one ever does, but it is an excellent place to start, learn and grow for both parent and child.
In this book, the author bases moral intelligence around seven issues: conscience, empathy, self-control, respect, kindness, tolerance and fairness. I would like to have seen honesty added to the list. Over time, I have seen some very insecure children who feel they do not measure up to their parents' pre-determined standards (or fear the actions of their parents) become pathological liars. Honesty, like the other areas mentioned in the book, is an important key issue to be learned from an early age. The excellent hands-on activities in this book, dealing with everything from conflict resolution to social justice, are the book's most impressive aspect. The positive information presented in this book not only helps to build strong moral intelligence but sets the foundation for healthy, secure, well-adjusted children. Again, the book works best when followed by strong parental examples.