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HOW TO TEACH VALUES

Sure, values change over time and vary from culture to culture, but the values parents need to instill in their children are pretty timeless, universal, and basic.

Legend has it that a student once asked a medieval rabbi if he could, while standing on one foot, tell the questioner all he needed to know about being a good person. The rabbi answered, “Don’t do to anyone else what you would not want done to you.”

In essence this is the basic value to teach your children.

But how does a parent specifically teach values, especially when there is so much selfish, uncaring, mean, and downright VALUE-LESS behavior in our world today? A few suggestions:

o MODEL the behaviors you want your child to adopt.

o INSTRUCT your child on the specifics like sharing.

o SUGGEST ways your child can be kinder and more caring to others. “Jody has no one to play with. Why don’t you invite her over to play with you and Sally.”

o Use liberal amounts of parent propaganda like, “Our family would never do that.” when the TV news has a story about drug dealers.

o Emphasize TOLERANCE. Teach you children the importance of including, not excluding, other kids. Teach them not to make fun of children who are different or handicapped.

o Make HONESTY a family policy. Set an example for your children. If the cashier accidently gives you too much money in change be sure your children see you return it. Let your children know they live in an environment where they can safely express themselves so there is no need to lie. Explain what “white lies” are and let your children see you use them to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

o Teach your children COURAGE. This enables children to think for themselves, rather than always go with the crowd.

o Don’t forget PEACEABILITY so your children will be able to accommodate, not just argue, make an effort to understand other’s point of view, and count to 10 before flying off the handle.

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