Know Your Values and where they came from. Ask Questions…
Many of the problems (and indeed positive aspects) which exist in an adult’s life can be traced back to their childhood. Typically, our behaviour patterns and ways of interacting with others were first learned when we were children and taught to us by our parents. Whether we admit it or not, throughout our formative years our parents are the most influential people in our lives. As children, and even now as parents in our own right, we consciously and subconsciously either mimic or reject our own parent’s values.
How many of us, for example, have said something to our children and afterwards thought “God, I sound like my mother”.
Values are essentially the ideas, beliefs and ways we believe in and hold dear. Honesty, trust, respect and kindness would be common examples. Because your child or teenager is influenced by your values, it is important for you as a parent to reflect on them.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What values are important to you?
- What/who influences your values? Politicians, church, media?
- Were your parents’ values right or wrong? Why?
- Do you practice your values or do you contradict yourself. For example, do you tell your children not to fight when you fight with your partner.
- How do you react when someone disagrees with your values? Teenagers forming differing values to those of their parents is one of the most frequent causes of conflict within a home.
- Why are your values so important to you?
- Have your values changed over time?
Values change from country to country, society to society, culture to culture, family to family and individual to individual. This is why the death penalty, for example, is accepted in some countries and illegal in others. This is why some children have a fixed bedtime and others have none.
Key Point: Know what your own values are and put them into practice. As always as a parent, actions speak much louder than words.