Values, to understand how to teach our children values, we need to know what the word means. According to Websters.com, the sociological definition of values is “the ideals, customs, institutions, etc., of a society toward which the people of the group have an affective regard. These values may be positive, as cleanliness, freedom or education, or negative, as cruelty, crime or blasphemy.”
What does that mean? Values are the basic fundamental beliefs you infuse in your child. Most of these values are passed along by those people who spend the most time with your child. So if you want to mold your child to be a positive citizen and lead a strong and healthy life, it’s critical that you pay attention to your own values and behavior and begin the teaching at home.
Below are some key ways to instill values in your child.
Ask questions – learn about what other parents, teachers, kids say to your child in different situations and help your child know how to respond to something that does not meet your family’s values.
Discuss differences – Each and every person is an original. Everyone has a unique persona, varying hair color and skin color and different physical and mental abilities. Explain to your child how no matter the differentiation every person should be treated with kindness and respect.
Donate – There are so many ways to help others by making a simple donation. Items to donate include everything from food, paper goods and toys, to gathering some of your own household and toy items and donating them to a women’s shelter, family in need or Goodwill.
Get faith –having religion and faith has been proven to help support children and guide them when no parent is available. And don’t just “say” it, but show them how faith helps you too.
Lead by example – children watch everything you do. If you happen to bend over and pick up a piece of trash off the ground or pay the toll for the person behind you, your child will notice. They will also notice if you are cursing at the driver in front of you, throwing trash out the car window and cutting in line – children watch it all.
Share your personal experiences – Depending on the age of the child, and your story, share how you learned from personal mistakes. For instance, maybe you wish you had a better relationship with your own sibling but had made poor choices when you were younger.
Teach Patriotism – teach your child about the country they live in, teach him to respect authority, stand for the flag and recite your country’s pledge. The child will not only be a better citizen, but will become a great role model for other children who have not had the same information shared with them.
Volunteer – there are ways to help in the community where you and your child can work together. Whether serving in a shelter, cleaning up the local river or ringing a bell for the Salvation Army, there are many ways to show your children how helpful it is to reach out to others.