Certain values may have been drummed into us as children, “sit still at the table”, “Talk when you’re spoken to”, “Keep your room tidy”, “Your school work is important”, “Don’t give up, let’s try again,” “tell the truth”. Sometimes we may have rebelled against these or may see them as making us who we are now.
One thing is for sure, whether we think about them or not, the values we hold affect our parenting. Sometimes these values may have been passed on from our parents, or they may have changed over time. But our values are always very personal, and they can cause tension, particularly when we take these values are facts instead of opinions.
Knowing our parenting values can help us be more clear about how we want things to be. The more we are aware of our values, the more likely it is that our children will learn them. Values help us make decisions about how we act towards our children and choose our battles about what behaviours and attitudes to teach them. If we are not aware of what our values are, we may feel a sense of tension within ourselves that we are not parenting in a way that we would like to.
For example, I would say my families values are:
- Telling others about thoughts and feelings: This is for our whole family, we want our children to be aware of their own thoughts and feelings and feel able to share those without fear of dismissal or feeling small. If my 3-year-old daughter is feeling angry about something, she should be able to say so, even if she is angry with me! Or if she is feeling sad, I would like it that she is able to cry without being told to stop or to calm down and just be comforted.
- Being kind and understanding: This value is probably tied for first place. Simply we would like our children to have a kind attitude whenever possible at their young age. We often remind our children to have ‘Kind words, gentle hands and listening ears’.
- Being excited and confident: We want our children to enjoy themselves, to have fun, to not be afraid of exploring, or making new friends. For the age our children are at we want that to come from having a secure base with us, a safe haven they can return to when they begin to feel unsure, and we can encourage them.
Here is a further list of values, perhaps you can find your top 3?
Consider discussing these values with the rest of your family, talk about the ones you feel are important and ask what do they feel is important and together make a list of family values.
You may have thought about your family values before, or you may never have considered them. At Citywise, we would ask “Where does your child’s character fit in your priorities?” Things like resilience – to keep on going. Self-control – to be able to not eat that last slice of cake because it’s not dinner time. As well as other virtues like kindness, generosity, forgiveness and dedication.
We believe that when parents value their child’s character journey, the child is given the tools they need to thrive in life. Many studies have shown that a positive relationship focussing on character growth can dramatically overcome long term effects caused by any disadvantages a child might face. That is what Citywise is here to support.
Did you find this article helpful? Consider emailing us and letting us know at firstname.lastname@example.org! Or ask us about our Parenting Program which is in progress, Purposeful Parenting, we would love to tell you more.