Teaching Values to your Kids

Values are ideals that guide or qualify your personal conduct, interaction with others, and involvement in your career. They help you to distinguish what is right from wrong.

It stands to reason then, that teaching values to your children is an important part of being a parent. Values make our society safe and workable, and instilling them in our kids is the most significant and effective thing we can do for their happiness. Studies show that morality and value-oriented behaviour helps a child develop a sense of autonomy, independence, and confidence.

Values can be classified into four categories:

* Personal
* Cultural
* Social
* Work

Personal Values are principles that define you as an individual, and determine how you will face the world and relate with people. Personal Values include honesty, reliability and trust.

Cultural Values help you feel connected to a larger community of people with similar backgrounds. Cultural values include the practice of your faith and customs. They are the principles that maintain your connection with your cultural roots.

Social Values are principles that indicate how you relate meaningfully to others in social situations, including those involving family, friends and co-workers.

Work Values are principles that guide your behaviour, projects and contexts. They define how you work and how you relate to your co-workers, bosses, and clients. They also reveal your potential for advancement.

The four categories consist of 12 Universal Values:

* Honesty
* Courage
* Peaceability
* Self-reliance and Potential
* Self-Discipline and Moderation
* Fidelity and Chastity
* Loyalty and Fidelity
* Respect
* Love
* Unselfishness and Sensitivity
* Kindness and Friendliness
* Justice and Mercy

  1. Honesty – with other individuals, with institutions, with society, and with oneself.
  2. Courage – daring to attempt difficult things. The strength not to follow the crowd, and to say no and mean it.
  3. Peaceability – understanding that differences are seldom resolved through conflict, and meanness in others is an indication of their problem or insecurity. Controlling your temper.
  4. Self-Reliance and Potential – awareness and development of your gifts and uniqueness. Taking responsibility for your own actions. Overcoming the tendency to blame other for difficulties. Commitment to personal excellence.
  5. Self-Discipline and Moderation – physical, mental, & financial self-discipline. Moderation in speaking & in eating. Understanding the limits of body and mind. The ability to balance self-discipline with spontaneity.
  6. Fidelity and Chastity – teach your kids the value and security of fidelity. Give them a grasp of the long-range and widespread consequences that can result from sexual immorality and infidelity. This is an instruction, rather than a definition.
  7. Loyalty and Dependability – loyalty to family and other organizations and institutions to which commitments are made. Reliability and consistency in doing what you say you will do.
  8. Respect – for life, property, parents, elders, nature. Respect for the beliefs and rights of others. Self-respect and the avoidance of self-criticism.
  9. Love – for friends, neighbors, family, even adversaries. Individual and personal caring that goes beyond loyalty and respect.
  10. Unselfishness and Sensitivity – becoming more extra-centered and less self-centered. Sensitivity to the needs of others and of situations. Empathy, tolerance, brotherhood.
  11. Kindness and Friendliness – awareness that being kind and considerate is more admirable than being tough or strong. The tendency to understand rather than confront. The ability to make and keep friends. Helpfulness. Cheerfulness.
  12. Justice and Mercy – An understanding of natural consequences. Obedience to the law, fairness in work and play.

Values should be taught to children of all ages with differing agendas and changing emphasis as they mature. Values are best taught in the home, since parents are the best exemplars and instructors. Parents should consciously develop their own set of family values, and consciously teach these to their children – leading by example and also taking the time to explain.

Children may develop values different from those you tried to teach them. However, they will do so with a solid foundation, and with a basis of comparison.

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