Tell Your Kids “WHY”

Let’s talk about family values. We all have them and most of us kind of know what they are (at least in theory). We kind of have sense of what we believe in and the kind of people we’d like our kids to be.

Family values can be defined as what you stand for, what you believe in, qualities you like about yourself and qualities you strive for. It’s those values you consciously or unconsciously parent around, even if you have never put them on paper or verbalized them formally.

I want to share 3 reasons I believe, as a Parent Coach, every family would benefit from taking the time to map out their family values, introduce them to your children, tape them to your fridge and talk about them often.

1. When we know our family values, we can hold ourselves, our children, accountable. We can guide the family. When we communicate the values to our kids, they can understand the WHY. They feel connected! They feel included! They have pieces to the puzzle! And when we embrace the values, we are walking our talk.

Let’s look at some examples of family values:

My family’s values are few but we hold them near and dear. They are:

We tell the truth.

Our body is our temple.

We show up and do our best.

We treat everyone with a basic level of kindness.

Our tribe brings out the best in us or they are not our tribe.

Examples of family values from other families are:

We are critical thinkers and challenge what we don’t like, understand or agree with.

We value sleep, down time and family time (cell phones put away at 8pm in a bowl downstairs).

We value family and family time together.

We keep our hands to ourselves always.

We respect each other.

We show our immediate family love thru respect.

We nourish our body with healthy foods.

We give back.

We do for others.

By declaring your family values, you set the tone in your household for what is expected and how each family member should behave.

2. When it comes to parenting with ease and consistency, it starts here with family values. Think of family values as proactively communicating your wisdom! Wisdom is best if it is shared. Your values are a big piece of the wisdom puzzle because they guide you as a person and a parent. If you are triggered by something, it can most likely be linked to a violation of your family values. You can use your family values to guide you in your decision-making. Family values can help you know what to say yes to what you can stand firm against. It can help you sort out sibling fighting and answer questions like why and when.

3. Family values turns on the internal compass within our kids. It allows them to parent themselves! It creates consistent behavior no matter the challenge or situation. When your kids see the bigger picture, and know their family’s values as they move thru their childhood, they can guide themselves. Decisions of what to do and deciphering from right from wrong (for your family) will be easier for them because they understand the bigger picture. For example, your family value might be we nourish our body with healthy food. You and your teenager have been talking about this since he was little. He goes out to a friend’s birthday party where there is tons of junk food and lots of candy. After enjoying a couple slices of pizza and a piece of cake, he then calls it a night, while many of the other kids pig out on unlimited junk food. Another example, you talk a lot with your daughter about the value of resting the brain and uninterrupted sleep. She goes away to sleep away camp over the summer for 8 weeks. Most of her cabin mates sleep with their phones under their pillow and are woken up often with text messages, leaving them tired, cranky and fatigued. Your daughter puts her phone away each night and enjoys her restful sleep. She knows the value of sleep at her age and takes good care of her brain.

Defining your family values takes a bit of work but is so worth the effort!

Family values, when mapped out and communicated consistently over time, can have a positive impact on parents and kids. What are your family values and how can you start to use them to have positive, influential discussions with your children?

About the author

Lisa Smith

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