If you want to teach your children admirable qualities such as respect, compassion, honesty, tolerance, and honour, then you will have to exhibit these qualities yourself. Children learn best from the example set by the people they most admire. Hopefully those people are their parents or caregivers.
START TEACHING EARLY AND BE CONSISTENT
The time to start teaching your children is when they are just toddlers. Small children are constantly watching, listening, and imitating, even when you least expect it, so you must always behave as you wish your children to behave. None of that 'do as I say, not as I do' malarkey.
This of course is not simple. You cannot have one persona for adults and another one for children. Consistency is the key. If it's wrong, it's wrong.
BE A GOOD EXAMPLE
You cannot expect your children to be honest, if you keep the wallet you found. You cannot expect you children to be kind, if you laugh at cruel jokes. You cannot expect your children to be honourable human beings, if you are not.
Of course you will make mistakes. No one is perfect, but you must apologize for your shortcomings as you would expect your children to apologize for theirs.
HAVE OPEN DIALOGUES WITH YOUR CHILDREN
Talk to your children often. Answer all their questions, honestly. Encourage them to discuss the rights and wrongs of things they hear and see.
If you have always had open dialogues with your children, the teenage years, that so many dread, will pass more smoothly. Your children's opinions may differ from yours especially as they become older. You will have to learn to accept all their idiosyncracies, as you hope they will accept yours.
BE GENEROUS AND SINCERE WITH YOUR PRAISE
Watch how your children behave so that you can take every opportunity to praise them for good behavior. They may simply come when called or put their laundry in the laundry basket. This makes your life easier and more pleasant. Say so.
PICK YOUR BATTLES
As the saying goes 'don't sweat the small stuff'. Some things just aren't worth fussing over. If you see a minor infraction, ignore it but take the earliest opportunity to praise a corresponding good behavior.
Praise builds self-confidence. Criticism destroys it.
If a major issue occurs then address it immediately. None of that 'wait until your father comes home' stuff. You and your partner are a team and must behave as such. Both must play an equal part in the training process. Develop a plan of just rewards, and even more just punishments. Stick to them.
I something occurs that is so horrendous that you feel you are about to lose control, and start screaming, take a breath and calmly say that you are really upset over the issue and want time to calm down, so you will talk later. Take a bath. Have a cup of tea, or whatever it takes to get you to a state where you can be calm, rational, and just.
YOU ARE PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S BEHAVIOR
Some individuals develop explosive personalities. This simply has to be controlled. It is not a trait you want to pass on to your children. You are the adult and are primarily responsible for how your children grow and develop. Do not blame teachers, relatives, and baby sitters. Their influence is negligible compared to yours.
Parents often take credit for all their children's virtues and blame someone else for all their vices. You may have wonderful children, and you can be proud of your efforts, but children do not come into the world as a tabula rasa, a blank slate.
There are countless generations that went before all of us, and bear some influence on what we are to become. Children may have the will to progress and achieve, or they may not.
In spite of good parents, and bad parents, some children take the wrong path and some rise above their family influences to be great men and women.
When waiting for the birth of a child, parents may wish for a girl or a boy. Wise parents wish for a happy child.
As children grow and develop, parents may hope they will be teachers, doctors, lawyers, business owners or artists. Wise parents hope their children will be healthy, happy, kind, compassionate, generous, respectful, tolerant, and honorable.