Teaching values takes time `a scarce commodity for many parents today. As a result, outside influences like peer pressure and the entertainment industry`through the Internet, television, movies, video games and music`are having a greater affect on children, shaping their perspectives more than ever before. What`s a parent to do` `You need to make time to be with your kids and make the time you have with them really count. Talk with them about what`s right and wrong, and what constitutes good behavior and what doesn`t.
Have these conversations with your kids on a regular basis so that the topic of values becomes a completely `normal` one in your house. That way, in the future, if your children do face this dilemma, they`re going to be more comfortable broaching the subject with you than with their peers.
#1. One of the most important things you can do is set a good example for your children. They learn from seeing how you treat them, overhearing your interactions with others and observing what you do in different situations throughout the day.
#2. When you fall short with your children, not only do you need to acknowledge your mistake, you also need to tell them you`re sorry. This shows them that you value and respect their thoughts, perspectives and feelings. You`re also modeling an important way to show respect to others, and how to accept responsibility for your mistakes.
#3. Almost every day something happens that can provide you with an opportunity to teach your children about values. Use these incidents as conversation starters. It could be an incident you hear about in the news, something you or your children do or something you and they observe someone else do. These can make great on-the-spot lessons.
#4. Most of us can look back at our past and think of a lot of experiences that taught us some valuable lessons. Be willing to share some of those stories with your children, especially those that illustrate how you made choices that were consistent with good values.
#5. Your children may get themselves into trouble now and then. They may disobey school rules and receive punishment. You may be tempted to rush in and immediately try to `make things better` for them. If you rescue your children every time they make a mistake, they won`t take responsibility for their actions. They need to know that bad choices result in unpleasant consequences.
#6. Along the same line, you should require your children to finish projects they start, even if their endeavors get tough, tiring or mundane. Suppose your son begs to sign up for football and then wants to quit after two weeks of practices. Perhaps your daughter signed up for piano class but a week later she wants to drop it when she discovers how much the teacher expects students to work and achieve. For the most part, you should not let your children get out of these kinds of commitments (there are exceptions, of course).
#7. Encourage your children to help others whenever they can. It`s amazing how helpful they can be to others just through simple acts of kindness, such as making get-well cards for people who are sick, befriending shy or new kids at school, opening the door for a mom carrying heavy stuff or making some small talk with the elderly lady sitting by herself at the park.
#8. When it comes to teaching your children values, there will be a lot less `unlearning` that needs to be done if you minimize their exposure to wrong ideas in the first place. Granted, you can`t shelter them from everything, but you can and should limit their exposure to television and the Internet.
#9. When you observe your children doing something good, let them know you are pleased with their actions. Thank your children when they clean their rooms without being asked or they do their homework without grumbling. Acknowledge what a good job they did when they finished a seemingly grueling school assignment.
#10. You need to communicate with your children. Talk about what they did right, what they did wrong, how to make better moral decisions.