ways to teach values to your kids
By Mark Brandenburg
In a consumer-driven society that broadcasts values that don't
reflect what you believe, how can you teach values to your kids? Here are ten
ideas to help you:
1. Tell them your life stories and teach through your stories
Kids love to hear stories about your childhood. Weave in some
moral dilemmas and you've got great opportunities to teach values to them. It
certainly beats lecturing your kids!
2. Live your own life according to your values-walk the talk.
Kids learn by imitating, especially at a young age. They are
very adept at seeing if what you say and what you do are matching up. Don't give
them confusing signals; follow your own values every moment.
3. Expose them to your religion or faith It seems especially
important today to let them know that they're not alone. Providing your kids
with a community of faith will strengthen their values and provide parents some
4. Pay attention to who else might be teaching values to your
Get to know your child's teachers, coaches, relatives, etc.
Anyone who spends time with your kids may be influencing them. Know their values
and beliefs as well.
5. Ask your kids questions that will stimulate dialogue about
Telling them what values they should have won't always be
effective, especially when your kids get older. Asking them "curious" questions
will allow discussions that will eventually lead to values. "What did you think
about that fight," may be more effective than, "He shouldn't have started that
6. Talk to them about values in a relaxed and easy way
Nothing will turn your kids off more than preaching values to
them after they've screwed up! Talk to them when everyone's relaxed, and do it
in a light, conversational manner. They'll be much more likely to be listening
rather than tuning you out.
7. Read them fairy tales when they're younger
Fairy tales capture the imagination of kids and can easily lead
to a discussion of values. Kids will learn the most concerning values when
they're excited about the topic.
8. Involve your kids in art, activities, or helping others while
limiting TV and video games
Kids learn values when they experience them. Allow them to
experience helping others and involve them in activities that will expand their
9. Have frequent conversations about values in your household
This lets your kids know that it's important and it's not just
something you talk about when they do something wrong. 10. Have high
expectations for your kids' value systems
Kids will tend to rise to the level of expectation you have for
them. Their value system will often reflect yours if the expectations are