When our kids were toddlers, our rules were a bit more straightforward: ‘don’t eat with your mouth full’ or ‘put away your toys.’ But as they grow older parents face the tougher task of teaching values. How do we explain things like respect, honesty, or work ethic?
Teaching values is a crucial parenting skill, possibly the most important one of all. We are shaping our kids’ character and personality, and arming them with life tips that affect the way they think, act and deal with others. Here is a simple, straightforward guide—one of the essential parenting tips served everyday in o5.com.
Parenting tip # 1: know what values matter to you
What values do you want to teach to your child? Make a list of what matters to you and your partner. It’s best to start with about 5 that both of you will make a conscious effort to show, teach, and reinforce in every day life. It’s also good to focus on life skills that they can’t learn in school.
Parenting tip # 2: reinforce and reflect the value
Once you’ve made a list of your values, the next parenting skill is to be able to reflect and reinforce it in your rules and family environment. Here are some questions to ask:
a. Do your rules reflect that value? Values are taught through concrete experiences. For example, if you want to teach responsibility, are you strict about your kids putting away their toys, or do you just replace a toy that they lose or break?
b. Do children understand the value behind the rule? Children need to understand that values are important because their behavior affects themselves and others. So when they break a toy, they will no longer be able to use it. If they leave it on a floor, somebody else can trip on it.
c. Do you have clear, logical consequences when those rules are broken? If they are expected to be responsible for their toys, then a logical consequence is that the toy will be taken away if they don’t show that they can take care of it.
d. Do you have any family situations or rules that contradict that value? They won’t learn responsibility if Mom puts away the toys for them, or Dad leaves his own things lying around.
Parenting tip # 3: Present several role models
Kids look up to other adults. Obviously, the parents are the number one role models, but don’t forget other family members and even media.
Give your child books and movies that highlight the values that matter to you and help him process and reflect on what he sees. For example, you can watch ‘Toy Story’ together and talk about how the toys feel when they are abused or thrown away. Or, you can read ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and discuss how the pioneers all helped each other out and were able to survive in difficult conditions because they could all depend on each other.
Parenting tip # 4: Give your child chances to practice the value
Kids love a challenge and the chance to practice and show off their skills. It’s an essential part of their self-esteem. Why not look for a project that involves that value? For example, encourage them to get their friends involved in cleaning up the neighborhood playground or park of all garbage.
Every day life also gives plenty of opportunity to practice the value. Your child could be in charge of changing the dog’s water, watering the plants, or setting the table. These little chores teach responsibility and also show your child that he’s a valuable part of the family routine.
Parenting tip # 5: Learn from each other’s mistakes
You don’t teach values overnight. Even adults have mistakes, too! The important thing is to praise your child when he does something right, correct him when he doesn’t, and also own up to our own faults and promise to do better.
We understand that teaching values becomes harder and harder as kids grow up and become more involved with friends. Here are some parenting tips on how to communicate effectively with your kids when they reach those “difficult” years and staying close to them through regular family bonding.. The closer you are to your kids, the more likely they will turn to you for life tips.
Photo from tuhoc.blogspot.com