Virtue Talk

Sometimes it can be difficult to navigate a conversation that doesn't resort to anyone yelling or saying hurtful words or things that we later regret. Fortunately, we can use these occasions to invoke a virtue, which essentially means incorporating the language of virtues into our conversations. This space was created to guide our daily conversations with our children so that they are more positive and effective, by empowering us with confidence and skills to help us connect with them in a more loving and gentle way.

"The way we speak is such a powerful force in our lives," says Professor Katherine Kinzler, and I completely agree. When our children, or anyone else, listens to what we say, they can sense our emotional state and level of confidence through our choice of words, tone, and body language.

Listen . Acknowledge . Assist . Correct

The process of using Virtue Talk consists of four steps. (LAAC)

1. Listen

Active listening is an excellent way to assist your child in a difficult situation, as it helps you to connect with them.


As an example:

1. To give them your undivided attention, get down on their level and make eye contact. Stop what you're doing and listen patiently.

2. Before you begin your conversation, encourage your child to sit with you somewhere safe and quiet (where they will not be distracted).


Thank your child for speaking up, and acknowledge what he or she has said as well as any feelings they may be feeling to demonstrate that you understand them. Incorporate virtues into your dialogue by highlighting the acts of virtue they demonstrated.

As an example:

1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and demonstrating your assertiveness. I see you're both upset; how can we work together to make things better in a peaceful manner?

2. I admire your bravery in attempting something that was difficult for you.

3. When you were holding the baby, I noticed your gentleness.

4. I appreciate your assistance today in picking up all of the toys with me.

3. assist

Ask questions that encourage them to consider how they could have helped the situation by putting their virtues into action to assist them in identifying acts of virtue.

As an example:

1. How could I have helped you be more patient?

2. How could you have shown compassion to your upset friend?

3. How can we be more kind in the future if we find ourselves in a similar situation?

4. What virtue do you believe you could have substituted instead?

5. What else can you do to help you be more patient?

4. correct

It is critical to correct the situation by emphasising the acts of virtue that have been or must be demonstrated.

As an example:

1. You must be gentle with yourself. What is something you are good at?

2. What can you do to be more patient the next time you're irritated?

3. What acts of service can you think of that will help our planet?

4. Someone's feelings were hurt by what you said. What kind words can you offer in its place?