If a friend or another parent were to ask what your family stands for, are you able to instantly give an answer?
Like it or not, we live in a time where there are many voices vying for our children’s attention – Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, and even the advertisements on social media platforms are subtly shaping their lives.
As societies become technologically advanced and people become more liberal in their thinking, moral and social values will change to reflect that on a cultural level.
It is thus increasingly important to be intentional about thinking and talking about family values. If parents do not take charge of raising their children using their playbooks, then the world will.
Every family’s list of values will be different. Some examples of family values include:
Family values are influenced by one’s upbringing, worldviews, religious beliefs, and cultural and societal circumstances. The process of designing a family mantra or family values can be different for every family.
Family values are like a compass. They outline what is important in your family and inform your decision-making process.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Have an honest and open conversation with your spouse about what your family’s ideals are.
Ask questions to jump-start the discussion:
2. Talk to couples who are already consciously living out their family values and learn from them.
3. Find like-minded couple friends who are interested in charting their family values – start a group and do it together.
4. Get your children and teenagers involved in crafting your family values. Listen to their concerns, aspirations, and thoughts on what is important to them.
5. Print out and display your family values in strategic spots in the home as reminders.
Affirmation is an essential ingredient to building a young child’s confidence and encouraging them to learn and grow.
There are many ways to instil family values in your children. Be as creative as possible and find the methods that suit your children’s needs and learning styles.
Here are three ways you can consider:
“Train your child in the way he should go and when he is old, he shall not depart from it.” – a Jewish proverb
Whether you like it or not, your children already have many strong and effective teachers of values at an early age: social media, movies, schools, books, peer groups, and religious institutions.
While some of these may communicate positive and affirmative messages, others may teach values that are antithetical to your beliefs. Thus, it is important for us to assume the responsibility of teaching our children.
Consider these ideas:
Values are more caught than taught. Model the behaviour for your children to live out the values you want them to internalise. Children and teenagers are perceptive. They observe what you do and draw conclusions about what is important to you in life.
When you notice your child demonstrating a family value, recognise them for it, and be as specific as possible.
Lyndon B. Johnson, a former president of the USA said it best, “The family is the cornerstone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitious, and the values of the child.”
As parents, we play a pivotal role in shaping our children’s values. Make time as a couple and family to discuss and decide on the core family values that would serve as a moral compass to help them navigate life in good and tough times.
© 2022 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Does articles on “Parenting” interest you? Add them to your favourite topics to get articles recommended for you.