If your children are equipped with the ten most important values from the beginning, they will at least be able to survive being on their own and also be on their way to living full, happy lives. Let us count down the 10 things.
Somewhere along the lines of growing up, children somehow learn to lie, even if they don’t learn it from their parents. Television, other children, or even adults can contribute to this sort of behavior. It could also be a form of defense mechanism for them. If you explain to your children the importance of honesty and you reassure them you will always be there to listen to them, then you will be more approachable especially in those times when they know that they’ve done something wrong. Many children are afraid to tell their parents the truth for fear of being yelled at, hit, or severely punished. Sure, you must explain to them that there will be consequences for disobedient behavior, but always praise them for having the courage to tell the truth and listen attentively to their explanation. Most importantly, be true to your word as well when you tell them things. They remember if you don’t follow through with what you say and may see you as dishonest. If you are dishonest, they will learn to be dishonest too.
Children learn respect first and foremost from their home environment. If your children see how you as parents treat each other respectfully and how you treat them and the rest of the family, they will be sure to model you. Children mimic behaviours as well as words. Saying things such as “Please”, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”, and “Excuse me” in front of them teach them respect and courtesy. Also teaching them to respect other people’s bodies, property, and opinions is important as it helps them to build positive relationships.
As adults, we know how easy it is to take life and people for granted. We obsess over what is wrong with our lives instead of being grateful for what is right. Teach your children to be thankful every day, even for the smallest things, like the beautiful weather or a smile from someone. Teach them to be thankful for being alive, for family and friends, for their food, clothing, and shelter, and for their health. Impress upon them that each new day is a blessing. Help them to start a “gratitude notebook” or ask them at the end of each day what they are thankful for. Doing these things teaches them appreciation for all that they have.
We live in an “I want” world. Me, me, me! Children also live in this kind of world, but they don’t have to stay there. Early on in preschool, children learn about sharing. If this is emphasized in the home, it won’t be difficult for them to transition to sharing with other children. Teaching them to be helpful to others is also a form of generosity, as it teaches them to be generous of their time. Especially at Christmas, when children are more likely thinking of what they want for themselves, explain to them that it is also important to give to those who are less fortunate during this season. Donate food or clothing to a charity or buy gifts for a family in need. It helps them to realize that it’s not all about taking but giving of themselves also.
Young children are non-conformists. They do what they want, when they want to do it, and with whom they want to do it. But as children get older, they learn to compare themselves with their peers and start to notice the differences and similarities between them. They may try to conform to what everyone else has or is doing, or they may not understand why certain people are so different from them. Your children need to be reminded that they are unique from the time they are young. Instill in them that their individuality is what makes them special. Encourage them to explore their individuality through their interests. Don’t compare them to their classmates or friends. Also explain that other people are also unique but shouldn’t be treated any differently because of their uniqueness. Children may ask why a person looks like that or talks like that or behaves that way. Explain to them why that person is different but emphasize the special qualities in that person. This helps them to appreciate the differences in people and shows that what’s inside of a person is what really counts.
If children are not taught to forgive, they will grow up to be bitter adults. People will do wrong to them, intentional or not. It is not something that we can completely protect our children from. But if they learn forgiveness, they learn compassion as well. When someone hurts them, listen to them as they express their pain, but explain to them in the end that holding a grudge against that person who hurt them will only keep them miserable. That grudge traps them and gives that other person more power over them. Your children will not be able to move on with life and live a happy one because the bitterness inside will eat away at them. They will become spiteful and vengeful. Try to make them understand that the other person hurt them because deep down, he or she is hurting as well. The only reason we tend to hurt other people is because it’s our way of dealing with our own hurts inside.
Life is full of lots of ups and downs. It’s full of surprises as well as pains. Children see the laughter in any situation, and in actuality, we should learn this from them. They are able to bounce back easily and often don’t take things so seriously. To them at their young age, life is just one big playground. Help your children to keep this frame of mind througout their lives. As they grow older, life gets a bit more challenging with harder schoolwork and peer pressure. Show them how laughter helps to make life better and more fun by telling each other jokes or doing fun activities together like reading, playing at the park, or even just talking to each other about life. Knowing what makes your children laugh and smile strengthens your relationship.
8. Positive Attitude
A positive attitude is a great companion to humor. Life can be very discouraging at times and as adults, we know how easy it is to become wrapped up in all the negativity around us. Especially when things don’t happen the way we want or we don’t get what we want, many times we lose our faith that things will be better in the future. Children need to learn the importance of having a positive attitude because unfortunately, people and events in life will let them down. And when that happens, if they have a positive attitude, they will be able to move forward and have faith that life will bring them happiness. Having a positive attitude starts with having positive parents. Exhibiting positive behavior is important because children will say things and act as their parents do. If they only hear negativity or witness negative behavior, then that’s most likely what they’ll exhibit, and vice-versa. So just remember this, like attracts like.
Another friend to humour and positive attitude is persistence. We are not perfect human beings so we will never do anything perfectly, especially if for the first time. Persistence helps children to never give up and to keep working hard for what they want to accomplish. As babies when they are learning to crawl, walk, play with a certain toy, or feed themselves, often times they don’t accomplish it right away. But they constantly keep trying until they finally get it because they don’t know the meaning of discouragement yet. That changes as they get older. They form their own fears and also start to compare themselves to their peers. There is also the pressure of school and grades. As parents, you can continually encourage your children to do their best and let them know that you are proud of them no matter what. When you find them getting frustrated or discouraged, help them by guiding them and asking them questions rather than giving them the answers to their problems. If they learn persistence when they are young, they will grow to be hard workers and learn to put forth their best in all that they do.
Last but not least, teach your children passion. Passion for life and passion for the people and things they enjoy. Without passion, they go around living ordinary lives and having ordinary dreams. Passion sums up all the other values because it makes them excited about life and encourages them to strive higher and be better people. Teach your children this by living passionate lives yourselves and being passionate about your children’s lives as well. Show your enthusiasm for even the smallest things. Your energy will pass on to your children because they will see how wonderful life is.
There are more values that your children should know, but these ten are the core of life and helps them to grow to be better adults. Our children need our guidance. As parents we are their biggest and number one influences, and by living these same values ourselves, we also help to shape their lives and guide them in the right direction.
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