6/12 Important Family Values for Kids
6/12 Important Family Values for Kids – Part 2 includes 6 more values that most parents feel are important to instill in their children. These values are beliefs and guidelines for how we live our lives and interact with others. Without them, kids will not have the tools and skills for developing healthy relationships throughout life.
Instill Family Values Early in Life
Research is showing that bullying is now starting in preschool now, as early as age three. That is reason enough to warrant looking at starting values instruction as early as possible. When researching this blog I found many articles about teaching children family values; most said how important it was to begin this training sooner rather than later. If I combined all the values that I found, it would be many more than the 12 I have chosen to cover. Here are a few examples:
5 Values You Should Teach Your Child by Age Five
Help kids find a way to tell the truth.
Insist that children make amends.
Encourage them to take on a challenge.
Teach them to think about others’ feelings.
Be generous with your affection
Values You Should Teach Your Child By
See some additional articles on this topic below.
6/12 Important Family Values for Kids – Part 2 Social Skills Kids need to Learn
As I said in the previous blog on this topic, social skills are simply socially acceptable behavior. As such, they are the tools and skills that we need, to know how to treat and interact with others. We are most familiar with the tangible social skills, such as don’t hit someone, don’t yell in the movie theatre, or trample your neighbor’s flower beds. But, the intangible ones are just as, if not, more important. They include things like helping a child have empathy for a friend, or thinking before posting something hurtful. Moreover, these are the character building traits we all want our kids to have.
Responsibility is a Social Skill
Teaching children responsibility is a social skill because it shapes their interactions with family, friends, and others they will come in contact with throughout life. This character trait is no different from honesty, cooperation, and respect; all traits each of us want to instill in our children. Begin this training early to see the best, long-lasting results. A young child, who wants to please the adults in his life, can by age one throw toys in a bin after playing with them. Make a game of it and offer lots of praise.
Give preschoolers small chores to do around the house. For example, setting the table, helping with food prep and clean-up. They can help with yard clean-up also. This is a good age to introduce the fact that everyone has a role to play in helping the home run smoothly. Even if it’s just emptying bedroom and bathroom trash cans, kids this age can own their job and feel a sense of accomplishment when doing it well.
By the time kids go to school, they will need to learn the kind of responsibility involved in doing homework, meeting deadlines, sharing tasks in a group project, and even playing their role well on a sports team. With every age comes greater responsibilities.
Most parents when approaching teens with conversations about being responsible, are met with the usual arguments, groans, or eye rolls. But teaching responsibility at this age adds new areas for training. They may now need to learn how to handle a job; perhaps understanding that the job comes before fun with friends. For example, we used to have an ice cream business that employed 60 teens in the summer. On a sunny, summer Sunday, too many were headed to the shore rather than to work. Doing this later in a career job can mean loss of the job and a bad report about you.
We show love for our family by our considerate actions. When parents see kids are mature about accepting responsibility, they are more likely to give them more privileges and freedom. What teen doesn’t want that? Helping with a good attitude shows being part of a team effort, whether home, school, sports, or work. Being responsible prepares kids for success in college, career, marriage, family and life.
Perseverance is a Social Skill
Social skills are those ways of talking, acting, and behaving that influence most areas of our lives. When we think about perseverance, I’m reminded of every great invention known to man. None would have been possible without the perseverance of someone. Someone had to have the stick-to-itive-ness, if you will, to make the change, invention, or way of life happen. Because we all want our children to be successful in school and later in life, it’s important for them to learn perseverance.
If you watch your kids try to ride a two-wheeler, encouraging them to keep going, and not give up you’re teaching perseverance. If your son just can’t seem to get the soccer ball into the net, but keeps trying, that’s perseverance. Any sport we want to master requires perseverance. The best way to teach perseverance is to model it. When children see mom pick weeds out of her garden week after week, they see what it takes to reach a goal. In this case, the goal is a weed-free garden.
Teaching kids perseverance is important because it encourages them to pursue their dreams, reach for goals, and not stop when they run into obstacles. It encourages them to accept setbacks as normal and continue on. It means pushing through to reach the short-term or long-term goals they’ve set. But, in today’s fast-paced world, too many are giving up when their goal or miracle is right around the corner.
Perseverance is required to be successful in school and work. For example, to put forth the effort necessary to get an A rather than a D, or to be promoted to that corner office. Mastering this skill prepares us for handling the curve balls that we didn’t expect life to send out way. It helps us deal with disappointment. Our ability, and especially that of our children, to work hard to overcome a difficult situation is easier and less stressful when we have learned the social skill of perseverance.
Self-Discipline is a Social Skill
Self-discipline is a social skill in that it can help prevent meltdowns or tantrums, teasing and being picked on, aggressive behaviors, and others that can lead ultimately to bullying. A child who isn’t trained to control meltdowns will encounter difficulty in daycare, preschool, and in later school years. This child may not be included in play dates, have trouble learning, and a host of other negatives.
This lack of self-discipline can impact many areas of a child’s life. A child who routinely refuses to take care of himself, meaning personal hygiene for example, leaves himself open to teasing and being left out. When those things happen, behavior often deteriorates and this leads to more unpleasant outcomes. Certainly, we want our kids to be accepted as they are, but kids can be mean. So, teach your kids good, age appropriate habits with plenty of encouragement, so they are not on the receiving end of unkind behavior.
Another important component of self-discipline is making good choices. Where a child exhibits aggressive behavior, offer training or social skills that teach positive behavior. Set goals for your child that are attainable. Reward and encourage the practice of self-control. Role-play how you want the child to behave, or save for a toy, wait for a family trip, or complete their school project before the deadline. Teaching self-discipline, establishing and achieving long-term goals, and making good choices go a long way in building their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Fairness is a Social Skill
Social skills teach us how to get along with others. From a young age, children can identify something that is unfair. Whether it’s a sibling taking their toy, or one child getting more cookies, unfairness creates problems. Since every child is programmed to think only of their own needs, teaching this value early will help kids learn to be fair, and enable them to get along better.
Fairness at home can be as easy as not playing favorites and establishing rules that apply to everyone. It can also be achieved by holding family meetings to discuss issues. Be sure that each person is listened to in a respectful manner. It’s important for the child who may have their viewpoint contradicted to know that you are not rejecting him. Rather, you are just choosing another course of action. Most families in a home with more than one child have heard, “That’s not fair!’
Before your child goes to preschool or on a playdate, be sure sharing has been taught. Role-play some sharing scenarios with your child. For example, sharing his toys with a friend. Then role-play playing with and sharing toys at the friend’s house.
You want your child’s behavior to be such that they get invited back.
Following the rules helps kids learn and understand fairness, as does compromise.
These don’t come naturally to kids; they have to be taught, and they’re not a one-time lesson. As an example, think of game rules. The person who chooses the game lets someone else go first. Or, when dividing a piece of cake, the person who cuts it lets the other person choose the first piece. Ask them for other examples.
Sports is the biggest example where we have a need for fairness. A child who has trouble following the rules in a game, changes the rules to win, or doesn’t accept defeat may find he is off the team. No-one wants to play with a poor sport. Kids who have a problem with playing fairly often find themselves teased or left out. Helping your child understand fairness will help him get along with and have more fun with peers.
Friendliness is a Social Skill
Friendliness is a social skill in that it plays a key role in how we interact with others. No-one wants to be friends with someone who is negative or grumpy all the time. And, we don’t want our children to experience that kind of behavior either. So it’s important that the manners and social skills training for our children include how to be friendly. We want our kids to have a lot of friends, and a prerequisite for that is learning the value of friendliness.
From the youngest ages, where we teach kids to share and play fair, we are setting them on the path to being the child other kids want for a friend. Encouraging them to share toys, hobbies, and activities together, such as T-ball, crafts, or soccer, train them in what a friend does and doesn’t do. As we make our own children feel special, they learn how to make their friend feel special. The child who is positive, fun, and encouraging is probably going to have more friends than the one who is negative, bossy, teases, or even bullies.
As kids grow and mature they will quickly learn which behaviors are considered friendly and which are not. By late elementary to middle school, kids can begin to share ideas and feelings with each other. They can begin to have empathy for a friend, and understand what that means. And, they can learn to be accepting of friends’ differences while treating each equally. Friendliness as a social skill means encouraging a friend to be the best that they can be. It means listening when they have a problem, and not telling the friend’s secret.
Being friendly means sharing ideas, hopes and dreams. It means encouraging your friend, playing and doing homework together. It involves being truthful and trustworthy, and putting your friend first. Most importantly, friendliness involves treating friends with kindness, respect, and our best manners.
Tolerance is a Social Skill
Much of the bullying we see today stems from a lack of tolerance (or acceptance) of those who are not the same as us. We have all seen the riots, school shootings, and other negative behaviors, often violent, that are the result of this lack. Our country was founded on the basis of freedom from religious persecution. And, on the tolerance of differences in values, beliefs, and cultural heritage.
Teaching tolerance is largely a value or social skill that we need to mentor for kids. Demonstrating empathy and compassion for all people through being open and respectful will be your child’s model to follow. Family discussions around kids that are positive will shape and reinforce your child’s behavior; letting them know what you expect.
Build up your child’s self-confidence so they are able to defend a friend and stand up to someone who is bullying. Role-play scenarios where and how you want your child to deal with seeing and hearing intolerance. Make sure kids see you intervening when confronted with intolerant behavior
Expose kids to diverse populations, whether in your neighborhood or in the news. Explain what is happening with what they are seeing and experiencing. And, let them know how you want them to respond. Encourage kids to learn about the culture and traditions of friends and neighbors. Create learning opportunities for your kids to be more comfortable with new or different people, places, and ways of life.
Here are some tips for teaching tolerance through a fun activity. There are three suggestions for using this activity. Write on a board, or some other paper the word TOLERANCE then add the following words that are next to each letter.
1. Set this up as a cheer. When you say “give me a T” kids respond with the word next to the T – Tactful.
2.You then ask “what does it mean?” Kids have to look up what it means.
3. Role-play it- Ask kids to create scenarios for each word; first showing the negative then the positive, like you would want them to do it.
T – Tactful [saying and doing what won’t hurt others] O – Others first [putting the needs of others before your own] L – Loving [showing love to others makes you likeable] E – Equality [treating everyone as having equal respect as human beings] R – Respect [all are worthy of our honor and admiration] A – Acceptance [helping others to feel liked and valued] N – Nice [being friendly, kind, and agreeable] C – Caring [showing concern for the needs and feelings of others] E – Empathy [sharing another’s problems and feelings; walking in their shoes]
The more we live, speak, and model tolerance, the easier it will be for
our kids to grasp this important social skill and value. And, the more we all practice tolerance, we hope see a decrease in the bullying and violence so prevalent today.
6/12 Important Family Values for Kids Part 2 – More Resources
Award-Winning Cool Kind Kid CD – Track 9, My Family /https://coolkindkid.com/product/ckk-cd-individual-track-09-my-family/
Interesting research. 76 Parents and educators were asked, “What are the most important values to teach children?”
Article in Psychology Today by Suzanne Gelb, Ph.D. JD. More to think about.
© Barbara Gilmour