When kids are young, they’re totally dependent on their parents. But as they grow older, their peers and their surroundings exert a greater influence on them. How does that make you feel? Are you passing your values on to your kids?
Are you comfortable with the impact that tough kids on the block, trash-talking athletes, or raunchy pop stars have on your kids? How about reality-TV celebrities, greedy business executives, or politicians masquerading as “role models”? Do you know how much time your kids spend listening to gangster rap, watching violent movies, or seeing obscene chats on social media? If you don’t know, you’d better wake up. The fact is, if you don’t pass your values on to your kids, someone else will.
How to Pass Your Values On to Your Kids
If you don’t play an active role in raising your kids, you’re leaving it all to chance. Here are 15 ways to pass your values on to your kids:
- Prepare your child for life. Communicate the importance of character, values, and personal responsibility.
- Stand for something. Share your beliefs and values in a consistent manner reinforced in many ways. Leave nothing to the imagination.
- Encourage exemplary behavior. Inspire your kids to do their best AND to be their best.
- Set an example. Show, not tell. Be the person you want your kids to be. As Robert Fulghum, the author, said, “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”
- Manage expectations. Establish clear boundaries and encourage your kids to live within them.
- Give responsibility. Give your kids the freedom to make their own choices –– but teach them that with independence comes accountability.
- Make yourself available. Be available, not just present. When kids are ready to talk, be there to listen. Gifts are not a substitute for caring.
- Communicate more. Create an environment in which open and honest communication is encouraged. Remember, when kids grow up, they’ll hear your voice in their subconscious.
- Provide discipline. Be tough, but fair. Let your kids know when they step out of bounds. The fact is, saying nothing says everything.
- Keep good company. Encourage your kids to surround themselves with positive people who possess strong moral character.
- Monitor the media. Observe how your kids spend their free time and whether they’re being positively/negatively influenced by others, including celebrities, music, TV, and social media.
- Cultivate skills. Treat every experience as a learning opportunity in which feedback is welcomed, mistakes are tolerated, and failures are viewed as hurdles rather than as roadblocks.
- Expose your kids to diversity. Teach your kids to be open-minded to others’ viewpoints and beliefs.
- Spend quality time. Make time to create fond memories and bond as a family.
- Celebrate excellence. Recognize and reward your kids’ exemplary behavior with praise coupled with added responsibility.
Great parenting role models are never too tired after work to spend quality time with their kids, never too busy with their own social life to give their kids the time of day, and they never outsource their “job” to others — rather they accept responsibility for raising their kids with sound values. The fact is, they sacrifice everything, and I mean everything, to raise good kids. Of course, even great parenting doesn’t guarantee that kids will grow up to become happy, productive, and well-adjusted adults –– but the odds are clearly in your favor.
Whether you like it or not, your kids will be influenced by others. So your choice is to play an active role in passing your values on to your kids –– or roll the dice. The truth is, raising good kids doesn’t happen by chance. Behind every good kid are parents or caregivers who understand the importance of raising them that way.
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