Some psychologists believe that values are impossible to teach. It is true that asking children to be more honest, careful, or compassionate doesn’t work any better than encouraging adults to be.
Some schools have attempted to incorporate moral development into their curricula in recent years. Nevertheless, schools struggle to instill morals in children because they engage too late and keep kids too isolated from the outside world. What’s worse is, they frequently conflict with the values the child gets at home.
Even though we teach children values, it all comes down to what are the values that we are teaching.
So how do we teach kids values?
In simple words, children pick up values through watching what you do and inferring your beliefs about what is significant in life. Your children will grow up with a clear understanding of what their parents truly value and a well-developed value system of their own, irrespective of what you intentionally teach them.
Of all, parents are not the only ones who teach their kids values; friends also have an impact, especially as teenagers. As much as we may wish to influence our children, it is undoubtedly healthy for young people to think for themselves and form their own opinions about the world.
Yet, studies suggest that the closer you are to your child, the more your values will influence how she views the world, including what others think of her. Not to mention that she is more likely to choose friends who share her views if she has a healthy sense of self-worth and a comfortable home life.
TV is a useful educational tool. The majority of television, particularly commercial television with advertising, promotes values that are at odds with what the majority of parents want for their children, despite the fact that some TV, especially public TV, offers many positive social messages for young children. (For additional information on how TV impacts children, click here.) Even if you strive to instill positive values in your children, studies reveal that TV has a definite detrimental impact on their attitudes toward greed, sex, violence, race, and gender. It certainly helps if you don’t have another voice in your home espousing opposing beliefs.
Values can be learned effectively from television, schools, religious organizations, peer groups, movies, literature, and other media. Nonetheless, despite these powerful cultural influences, the majority of teenagers continue to identify their parents as the main source of their values.
No matter what you personally value most, we are not suggesting you list it out for your child. Without context, the words won’t have much meaning. Yet, you may support your child in acquiring the morals you want him to have. How? Read on.
- Make it relevant to his world.
Values appear virtually theoretical until children begin to discuss their own lives, which, believe it or not, are filled with decisions that are heavily influenced by their values.
- Is it acceptable for your 5-year-old to cancel a planned outing with a friend in favor of another friend who offers far greater excitement?
- How much should you assist your 8-year-old with for her school project?
It is how we handle these choices that shape our values. Don’t pass up the chance to help your child mature by encouraging her to make thoughtful decisions.
- Be a good role model.
What you do matters more than what you say. Kids will learn that winning is more important than everything else if you tell them that soccer is about having fun, developing abilities, getting exercise, and working together. In addition to putting your child in an awkward situation, lying about their age to acquire a cheaper ticket to the amusement park teaches them that cheating is acceptable in some situations.
- Encourage your child to learn empathy.
Compassion is built on empathy, and values are built on compassion. By being told to feel empathy, children do not acquire it. Children can only learn empathy by experiencing empathy themselves and by seeing you treat others with kindness and compassion.
- Clearly express your values and why they are significant to you.
Integrity: What is it? What is the duty we have to our neighbors? What if our next-door neighbors don’t look like us? Why is decency required in a mosque, temple, or church? Parents have an important duty to assist their children in making sense of the world.
- Label the expression of values and reinforce it.
Recognize your child as specifically as you can when you observe them exhibiting a value that matters to you.
“I saw how you made an effort to cheer your friend.”
“I genuinely valued your honesty with me regarding what transpired at school.”
“How kind of you to offer your friend one of your stuffed toys!”
“You came up with the solution on your own to get the missed homework. That’s what I mean by creative!”
- Don’t lecture your children.
Teachable moments only work effectively when young learners are prepared to learn, and the majority of people find lectures to be alienating. Instead, try getting more information about his choices and the reasoning behind them by asking questions, and only occasionally voicing your own opinions. In addition to learning more than he would have from a lecture, he will likely feel more connected to you since you are listening while he works through his moral dilemmas and considers the consequences of his decisions.
- Volunteer as a family.
As a family, participate in community service initiatives such as visits to local nursing homes or an orphanage. To be willing to serve at a nearby soup kitchen alongside you, your kids will need leadership and encouragement to help others.
To sum it up,
Our kids need to understand that making morally sound decisions can be costly, but they are also fulfilling on a deep level. After all, what morally challenging decision doesn’t cost us something? We need to hold onto unprovable beliefs in order to be the people we want to be: that most people are primarily kind, that crime doesn’t pay, that good triumphs over evil, that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.
Why choose us?
Elite Private School is one of the best Abu Dhabi schools for children. We abide by the American Curriculum which is considered one of the best in the world. Our educators and the team have years of experience in the field. In order to foster talent, Elite Private School recruits, trains, and keeps the most talented teachers. We’ll push our faculty and students to be the best they can be, and we’ll foster a supportive, cooperative environment throughout our entire community. This is what makes us one of the best international schools in Abu Dhabi. Want to know more? Call us at +97 1244 75800.