In my previous post we considered what values you hold. They are basically your beliefs and philosophies in life – perceptions of things that are important to you. These can be your work ethics, your views about social issues, politics, your expectations in education, your love of arts, how to treat people, your love and loyalty towards your family and friends and so on.
Your values represent your priorities in life, and guide how you interact with people and how you conduct yourself in life.
How do children learn values?
Values are passed on to your children every second of the day. This occurs through daily interactions, communication and observing how you conduct and react to situations as an individual as well as a parent.
They learn by observing your interactions with people, and how you communicate, and how you behave. They learn from following your examples, such as when you pick up rubbish from the street and put it in the dustbin; they learn that helping to keep the street clean is a great value to have.
Or if you believe in contributing some spare time to help the disadvantaged, like in the soup kitchen or animal shelter, they learn about compassion and the values of helping.
Or if you as a family believe that family is very important and making time is important for family connections, then that would be the values your children will learn. They learn that the core of the family is built on trust and unconditional love.
Until such time that they are exposed to the wider society, friends, social media and the community, and learn and establish their own beliefs, views, perceptions and values, their values will be learned from what you have exposed him or her to from birth.
Why is it important to empower your children with strong morals and values?
When I was young, moral development was a very important aspect of family education. My grandmother or grandfather would be enforcing the filial piety philosophy and recite idioms frequently as a reminder. On top of that, all family members would have had almost the same upbringing with almost similar values. Thus wherever we go, the family and community shared almost the same life philosophy and values.
Here are a few values that stayed with me and I apply daily –
- Respect for the elders, not only at home but in society – i.e. giving a seat to the elderly on public transport.
- Respect people in authority – such as teachers
- What goes around comes around
- Don’t litter – always put away your waste in the bin
- Education is important
- Being honest and sincere
- Love and respect your family
- Be courteous – remember to say please and thank you
- Love and respect your spouse
- Limit smoking, gambling and alcohol…
- Financial independence
- Being accountable and responsible for one’s actions
- Having dinner together daily is important
- and many more …
When we were in school, especially during the first few years of schooling, we had to study at least one hour of a civic, moral and society subject each week, which reinforced what we were taught at home even more.
Your children believe what you believe; your thoughts, words and actions will influence them, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Your actions stem from your core values of who you are as a person, as well as your actions and reactions based on your perceptions and interpretation of situations/information… these are your beliefs.
How do you impart values to your children?
The basic core values will be established from the moment your child was born. He or she will learn your cues, whether the core values of the family is built on love or fear, a loving home or filled with violence, living in anger or in a calm environment, as well as learn from your voice, your tone, your energy, your body language…
These values will be established as your children’s core values, since they do not know any wiser, until they have had the chance to widen their outlook on life and decide for themselves, then they decide whether those learned values still hold true.
The best time to introduce values to your children is from as young an age as possible.
- Communicating with them is always a good start. Share with them the values of honesty, integrity and trust, and explain to them the consequences of not telling the truth, or lack of honesty and trust.
- Instill empathy and compassion in them. When you are volunteering for a project, encourage your children to be part of the project as well. Modeling these values is the best way to guide them to understand this concept. Explain to them what you stand for and the reason why you are helping out on this particular project.
- Watching TV programs or movies together. Use the program or movie to open up discussions about the values portrayed in the show, whether it is for or against the values you stand for. Use the programs as an opportunity to share your views with your children.
- Your daily interactions with friends, families, television, social media and the community will shape their values as well.
- Being the example you want your children to be.
Being the parent, you are closest person in your children’s lives; and you are the most powerful source of guidance for your children. Be there to guide them, support them, and most importantly, model the values that you want to see in your children.
Values are important and live on. When you have a strong relationship with your children, you would have instilled strong core values in them, which will be the foundation of their being as a person. Whatever they are exposed to later in life will be filtered through those values they learned and picked up from you. Their core values will guide them to make good and strong decisions in their life.
I would love to hear your views about values and how your values impact your children and family.
Have a happy and connected day with your family.