In a consumer-driven society that broadcasts values that don’t
reflect what you believe, how can fathers teach values to their kids?
Here are ten ideas to help you:
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 “leverage”
- Pay attention to who else might be teaching values to your kids
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.
- Ask your kids questions that will stimulate dialogue about values
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 fight!”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
by Mark Brandenburg