Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Inspiring Values in our Children, Advice from a Mother

By Christina VanGinkel

Raising a child with good, honest values is not always an easy thing to do in today's society, yet I sincerely feel as if it is the only way to raise a child to have a chance of being successful in all aspects of their lives. As the values of many run amok, to climb above that is the way to succeed. So how can we as parents inspire good, honest values in our children? Foremost, above everything else we do, we must try to have good honest values ourselves.

It is often much too easy for a parent to tell a child what they expect them to do, but not hold themselves up to those same rules. Not that life will always be fair to our children, this is one of those times where it is only fair to expect of our children what we are willing to hold up ourselves to do also. We cannot expect a child to be nice to others, both adults and their peers, if they see us talking behind other's backs and being mean to friends, family, and even strangers. Keep in mind with very young children, there is a fine line in teaching this where strangers are concerned. We want to keep our children safe, so while we do not want them to be rude to people they meet in an average day, it is also important that we teach them that it is perfectly ok to keep their distance from strangers and other adults. Be sure to deal with this most serious issue along with teaching your child to have good values. Do not just assume that it will all work itself out. Sadly, today's world that we live in, is just too dangerous to take any such thing for granted.

Talk to your Kids

Talking to your kids and really listening to what they are telling you, is by far the best lead into their lives for instilling values. If you have no communication with them, how can you expect to get across a point on any facet of life? From the time your children are small, crawling up in your lap to tell you about why they do not want to eat green beans and why their dinosaur had to eat the Barbie, to when they are teenagers heading out the door to hang with their friends or go to their part time job, listening to what they are asking and telling you is key to making sure that their road through life is straight. If you have not always done this, I am a firm believer in it never being too late to start anything that can lead to good, but the earlier you practice listening and talking with your children, the better.

Confront Issues

Confronting issues and not looking the other way when they arise is also of utmost importance. For example, if you have a child who tells you that they stood by while a child in their class was name calling another child, talking to them about why they took this action (maybe they are afraid of this student or the situation itself) is necessary. Just ignoring the act, listening to them talk about it but not really coming to any decisions on what they did right or could have done differently is not going to help or guide your child in the direction of learning values.

Let them Work it out Themselves

At the same time, letting them work out many of these answers for themselves is also important. By this, I mean do not always be so quick to tell them what they should have done, but ask them how they could have handled a situation differently than it was. This brings us back to talking to our children, and helping them learn by current and past events. Children with strong values have most likely come by them through the oldest process in life, live and learn. Only by experience can our children learn to have high values.

Love your Kids

In conclusion, love your children and do not be afraid to tell them just how much each and every day. Children that feel safe, that know how much they are loved, are going to strive to avoid disappointing their elders and their peers.

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