In recent years, the phrase “family values” has become widespread. These values explain what is important to your family—the beliefs and concepts that unite your family. Varying families around the world place different values on certain principles and beliefs.
Regardless of how you define family, a set of family values serves as a moral compass, clearly stating the attitudes and meanings your family associated with living their lives. These family ideas establish what you consider to be significant and good. They aid in teaching children the distinction between good and wrong.
They are thoughts and concepts unique to your family life, and there is no final, objective right or wrong. Values differ from family to family, civilization to society, and even time period to time period across history.
What Are Family Values?
Family values are “a set of beliefs and ideas (social and occasionally political) that provide moral guidance to a family unit.” Assume you were raised in a strict religious household that is opposed to many of the liberal values of today’s families.
This value is neither correct nor incorrect. It’s just a family value. However, these are the types of values to consider when examining what your family thinks and how they act on those views. Make a note of any values in your family that you believe are damaging or hazardous and seek to modify them.
If there is something in your family that works and makes people better people, keep that value alive in the family. You can modify your family’s values just like any other habit or belief, but it will take time.
Family Values Prioritisation
Many families do not have formally defined fundamental family values. If you haven’t already done so, setting priority family values is a valuable exercise, and it’s never too late to begin. It may appear frightening or overwhelming at first, but you’ll be glad you did it, and it’s actually not that difficult.
To begin, convene a family meeting and solicit input (and even debate) from everyone in your family about what is important to him/her and what they believe your family should emphasize as general values.
You may begin with a family mission statement; many families find success doing so. What form of statement best defines your family’s values and goals in the world? How do you want your family to be known and respected in your community? A strong work ethic is essential for some families.
Others may choose kindness or a life of service, while others may choose travel and adventure. Take the time to solicit feedback from all family members on what essential family values you share, and then incorporate those into your mission statement.
Discuss your family’s strengths and weaknesses—what works well and where there is space for development.
These are excellent locations to begin describing how your family fits into and differs from your own culture and society. What terms and phrases can you use to characterize your family as a whole? If you’re looking for motivation, look out for Bible verses about family or read books about faith and values.
If you get stuck, there are various values-based kits and activities on the market that give exercises, questions, and parenting recommendations.
They can assist your family in determining the values that are most important to you as individuals and as a group. Above all, your list of family values should be unique to you and your family.
If faith and spirituality are important to your family’s aspirations, your list should reflect that. It is one of your family values if you wish to travel with your family and explore as much of the world as possible. And if your family is motivated by social justice and community involvement, your values list should reflect that as well.
There is no single correct technique to establish a list of values, and each family has its own set of values and political beliefs. Families that are happy can be liberal or conservative, Republicans or Democrats, each with their own set of values. Indeed, a range of family values contributes to the development of stronger communities that work and live in harmony.
The Importance of Family Values
Our family values shape our own values and morals, which help determine who we are and how we fit into society. When parents demonstrate the importance of family values, a kid receives the structure and boundaries needed to establish his or her own position within those values and morals.
Alternatively, as the child grows older, those values can be modified to make them unique as the youngster ages and develops into a values-driven adult.
Our children learn to express themselves, learn from their mistakes, problem-solve, and develop all of the abilities and skills that will help them become effective members of the community through values-based family life.
It is beneficial to freely discuss family values that are important to you and your children in order to precisely establish those family values. And once you’ve defined your family values, you’re far from done—the more difficult chore of living and exemplifying each value comes next.
Because our ideas and identities are so connected, you may want to re-evaluate your family values over time to allow everyone’s input into whether something you hold dear as a family continues to have a beneficial influence on everyone and shapes their behaviour in a meaningful way.
Don’t let your everyday routine or the status quo prevent you from consciously developing strong and significant family values.
Begin by developing a family mission statement and holding weekly family gatherings to discuss significant family issues. What is significant to your family should be documented. If you don’t already have a defined set of family values, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong method to establish and codify family systems that assist guide your family values.
If your family lacks well-established value systems, now is the time to start. Go forth, act with intention, and engage in conversations that will assist your family in defining and living your family values.
With all that said, let’s now take a look at the core family values every family should emulate.
Kindness, according to Laura Froyen, PhD, a family and child development specialist and parenting consultant, should be at the top of the list for families looking to identify their values since it sets the stage for many other crucial characteristics such as generosity, empathy, compassion, and equity.
Emphasizing the significance of kindness can help children develop strong relationships both inside and outside the family, as well as make decisions that regard the well-being of others in the future.
Modelling kindness to your children can also show them how good it feels to be nice, which motivates them to emulate it in other situations.
2. Compassion for oneself
Kindness is more than just being polite to others. Conley believes that it is also critical for children to learn how to be kind to themselves. She suggests creating a family culture in which making errors is OK but negative self-talk is not. You might also demonstrate to your children the need for self-care when you are stressed.
For example, after a long day at work, take a break to do something you enjoy, and explain to your children that nobody is perfect, and our minds and bodies occasionally need rest to refuel.
Helping your children exercise self-compassion, according to Froyen, can help them be more effective in exercising generosity and compassion toward others.
Another crucial ability your children will need to function successfully later in life is integrity, or doing what you say you’ll do. Froyen believes that being able to rely on others and themselves will help children transition into adulthood with confidence.
Parents can display integrity by keeping their promises. For example, if you promise to read a book to your kid after your meeting, do everything in your power to do it instead of responding to emails or jumping on another call.
Recognize and apologize if you do not follow through. “It’s crucial for youngsters to understand what it’s like to be around someone who maintains their word,” Froyen says. “You’re laying the groundwork for their future connections.”
Froyen believes that when children have the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways, they will feel like significant members of the family, which will foster strong family ties and better behaviour.
Help your children succeed at contributions they enjoy, whether it’s tidying up toys at night, feeding the dog every morning, or, for older children, performing schoolwork.
A sense of responsibility also encourages children to admit their mistakes and work to correct them. Assume your older child slaps your younger child.
When the value of responsibility is reinforced, the older child may see their role in harming the younger sibling and, ideally, grow more empathetic as a result.
5. Mutual Understanding
If you want your children to respect you and others, start by teaching them that everyone respects everyone. In practice, this could include respecting your children’s boundaries when they tell you to stop poking them or listening to and implementing their weekend plans.
The goal is to show your children what it is like to be heard and considered so that they may do the same for others. “When your children feel respected by you, they will know how to respect others,” adds Froyen.
Honesty is a key component of strong family interactions and your children’s success in other areas, such as school and friendships.
According to Froyen, being honest as a parent teaches your children that they can tell the truth even when they are fearful of the repercussions, whether you apologize when you’re wrong or discuss your own challenges in age-appropriate ways.
Honesty can also help keep your children safe because they will involve you in their decision-making process if they feel they can be open with you about what’s going on.
The capacity to roll with the punches is essential for dealing with life’s unexpected happenings (like, say, a global pandemic). To assist your family to adjust to change, April Brown, therapist and creator of The Heard Counseling, proposes introducing flexibility or adaptation as a value.
This value will not only assist your entire family deal with last-minute changes in plans; it will also prepare your children to devise inventive solutions to difficult situations later in life.
To make progress against challenges such as systematic racism, children must comprehend the fundamental concept of justice and see it mirrored in their daily lives at home. Froyen advocates promoting justice in small ways, such as making sure everyone has a turn when playing with toys.
These lessons may appear minor at first, but they will have a significant impact on how your children behave to others in the future. It’s a basic but important virtue that every family should reinforce.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Values
Family values and family culture are inextricably linked, although there are some key variances. Values are intrinsic and firmly held views, whereas family culture is the outward manifestation of your family’s personality and, yes, beliefs.
Family morals are the views that family members hold about what is right and wrong, as well as what is good and bad.
Values provide families with a perspective on life, a way to perceive the world and their situation, and an identity.
Conclusion on Family Values
The importance of family values cannot be overemphasized. Enumerate what works for your family and build a culture around it.
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