To raise confident kids capable of changing the world, you need to instil clear, consistent values.
Family values are getting a bad rap as politicians appeal to them to further their own, often intolerant, goals. Are family values ‘going backwards’, or is there a place for them now and in the future? ‘Absolutely,’ says local parenting expert and author Nikki Bush: ‘Family values remain vitally important.’ Families are the foundation on which communities, cultures and countries rest. What type of adult do you want to raise? How will they contribute to and behave in society? These questions are about habits that guide behaviour. While every person, organisation, and nation requires values to live by, these need to be actively taught.
WHAT ARE FAMILY VALUES?
They’re the ethical guidelines and personality traits each family values as important – how we treat each other and engage with society. They help children grow into independent, upstanding adults. While some family values are culture-specific, ‘there are standard, main family values that cross cultures,’ says Nikki. Things such as good manners and honesty. It’s up to you to decide which values your family stands for. Like companies each have their own organisational culture, informed by their brand values, every family has its own culture.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Children mimic their role models, so express your values. ‘Some families are charitable, others may honour people by having trustworthy relationships. Families in action reveal family values,’ says Nikki. Use regular shared meals as informal meetings for talking about ethics, morals and right behaviour as you discuss the day. Your family’s brand and values help you frame such conversations, says Nikki: ‘You can point out behaviour you consider poor and say: “In this family, we value X.”’ the FIVE FAVOURABLE TRAITS
It is pointless telling your kids to be honest if you tell white lies. Rather than saying, ‘Let’s not tell your dad/mom we bought this,’ or making fake excuses to avoid play dates, be truthful in your dealings with others. And if your child fibs, don’t overreact. Nudge them to come clean, explain why lying is wrong, but say you appreciate their honesty.
Do you tell your child you love them, and show affection, daily? Expressing your devotion builds your child’s self-worth. It also teaches them how to treat those close to them.
The greatest way to teach kids to be kind to others is to get them to ‘feel with’ the other person, and have empathy. Discuss others’ behaviour and imagine scenarios around it. If someone is rude to you, you could say: ‘I wonder why she is cross? Can you think of reasons? Remember when you got angry because nobody was listening to you? Maybe people don’t listen to her, so she’s grumpy.’
A rude child reflects poorly on you, and people with good etiquette tend to be well-liked. But manners don’t come naturally, so you must teach kids to say please and thank you, and not to interrupt, for example.
Strong work ethic
Do encourage perseverance, promote determination and show discernment. Have your child tackle tough tasks and finish what they’ve started. Praise them for trying to tie their shoelaces, even if they don’t get it right. But avoid praise when it’s not due.
[Image by Agung-Pandit-Wiguna via Pexels]