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Elevating Parenting and Values

by Dennis Jeffrey

Elevating parenting and values gives children a solid basis for making life choices. Young children naturally look to their parents for direction. Having a solid, well defined value system provides the necessary roadmap. It is imparitive that parents have a clear understanding of what is important and consistently live out these values.

It is important to be honest about how things are. Do our values actually take priority and become evident? Are they just a vision to be put into practice sometime in the future? Values should be an integral part of each parent. The best way to teach children is through passion and example.

What are the most important things in life? Is it money? Is it a person or persons? Is it my Faith? Is it meeting the needs of others? Is it education or a job? Is it being a good person or serving others?

True values are what drives us minute by minute. It influences thought processes, decision making, and direction. Some values may be ingrained and are manifested without thinking. There are other noble attributes that we aspire to, but just have not been able to make them part of our lives.

For parenting, set aside time to assess what your true values are. Since children are impacted by both parents, it is important to have both partners participate. This will also give you a sharper picture of what is real. The following steps will help clarify values for both partners:

Build list of values

Values should be reviewed honestly and with an open mind. Make a list of values indicate the level of importance. These can be specific activities (ie. sport, family time, church) that are important. There are also general human attributes (ie. courage or commitment) that are held in high esteem. The list can be long. The following table is a sample of possible values:

Sample list of values

Accuracy  Cooperation  Honesty  Responsibility Beauty  Courage  Hospitality  Safety 

Calm  Courtesy  Faith  Sacrifice 

Change  Discipline  Money  Sports 

Cleanliness  Education  Neithborliness  Sincerity 

Collaboration  Fairness  Organization  Tolorance 

Commitment  Family  Perseverance  Tradition 

Communication  Fitness  Privacy  Trust 

Compassion  Friendliness  Respect  Wisdom 

Go through the list a denote for each item whether you always exhibit the characteristic, sometimes, or never. Review this list and select 10 or 12 that you honestly feel relate to your life and are important to you. They should define who I am and what is most important to me. Have your spouse build the same kind of list independently.

Sort by importance and prominence

Sort your own list in the order of importance or priority to you. Have your spouse also sort your list, independently, in the order they percieve you. This can be a challenging exercise, but can give valuable information to the other partner. How your spouse perceives you is often what children will see as well.

Discuss with spouse

Discuss together whether the values are reality. Do they line up with the way we act? Are they what we want or are they part of our life now? Is there a conflict between values, such as family and work.

This is a good opportunity to evaluate and make adjustments. There are values that are important, but have not been acted upon. It may require changing priorities and taking definite actions to change course. This may take courage and humility.

Build one joint list

Then merge the lists for both spouses to form a new list for family values. There should agreement between you and your spouse on this list. This list could also require life style changes to actually become a reality and make your top values effective!

The message sent to children will now be clearer. It is good to establish important values early because there are other influences that children face that impact attitudes and direction. Television, movies, friends, school, and neighborhood can be major contributors in their lives.

Family togetherness

Family time and parent interaction are critical. Parents may have the most noble and impressive lifestyle, but the children suffer with lack of contact. Teaching children family values is often lacking in today’s fragmented society.

There is no substitute for being together. Job responsibilities and other outside activities can severely limit interaction. Spending significant time together is the vehicle for parents to share their lives and their values. Children will also develop better skills with communication, sharing, and cooporation.

Parenting and values is critical to making right decisions about issues and people.

Bio:

I came from a family as the oldest of 8 children and was the last to get married at 47 years old.  We now have 2 children and have experienced many issues and problems over time. My website, http://conquering-stressful-family-hurdles.com/parenting.html, deals with a number of these issues and provides long term solutions.

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