Family values aren’t usually something most people think about until they need to teach their kids a lesson in response to an unwanted behavior. However, the importance of family values should not be overlooked. Thinking about what your family values are and instilling them in your children early, can teach your kids how you expect them to behave when you’re not around. Children learn by what you do and say. Live your family life in way that makes you proud and encourage positive family decisions and and behavior. Important family values and ethical principles will be helpful guides throughout life.
Why Family Values Are Important
Family values pertain to individual family members, the entire family as a unit, and the society we live in. As citizens of the United States, most American families will share a common set of values like the love of freedom and the belief in democracy. Family values help us determine what is right and what is wrong. Not only do values have to do with our morals but also with our roles, beliefs, and attitudes.
Build A Firm Foundation
Family values are important on many different levels. They establish a foundation for your family and create structure. With a strong foundation, your family can stand strong against opposing beliefs. Above all, your kids will know there is always a safe place to express themselves.
Create A Sense Of Identity
Strong family values also guide you in making decisions, parenting your child, and knowing how to protect your family from dangerous outside influences. Additionally, they make you who you are, both as a family and an individual family member.
Help Guide Decisions
The importance of family values goes a long way to helping your children know what is right and wrong. In other words, having strong values can help your children live up to their ideals. Adult children will more naturally make decisions they know you’ll be proud of. Younger family members will be better able to withstand peer pressure and make good choices.
Family Values Examples
Some of the oldest values are those around the traditional family structure, gender roles, and child care. While these roles within the family unit are rapidly changing, it is important to make sure that all the family needs are being addressed and provided for whether it is the man that does them, or the women, or both together as partners.
There are a variety of core family values that you may find it important to teach your children. The list of values below is by no means complete. These are just family values examples to help get you started.
Examples Around Work May Include:
- team work
- hard work
- commitment to getting the job done
- being creative
- working towards financial responsibility and wealth building
- having an understanding for budgeting and living within your means
- being productive
- being well educated
- placing moral values above profit
- never give up
Examples Around Social Interactions May Include:
- giving back/volunteering
- being respectful, courteous, and kind to others
- standing up for other people
- your attitude toward other people
- the words you choose to speak about yourself, others, and the world around you
- prioritizing family time
- respect your elders
- care for those you love
- eat meals together without cell pones or other distractions
- enjoy social time and have fun
- open communication
- positive attitude
- being respectful of different views on political philosophy
- live by The Golden Rule
Other Traditional Family Core Values May Include:
- trustworthiness/ reliability
- the growth mindset
- the ability to laugh at themselves
- empathy and compassion for others
- a positive outlook on life
- quality time as a family
- respect for social institutions
With these and other traditional family values that you may find important to teach your children, they’ll grow up knowing how to behave, how to treat others, how to have a strong work ethic, and how to be happy. Whether you are talking about extended family, traditional family, or a blended family, the importance of family values to all family systems is clear.
Strong values help young people understand who they are and where they come from. They learn more than just how to behave in one particular situation. Children live with values and learn how to act in daily life, regardless of various situations.
How To Instill Family Values
In order to establish strong family values, you first have to know what values are important to you and what you want to pass on to your children. You can create a family mission statement as a parenting team or with the whole nuclear family. Then, use family activities and positive parenting to reinforce those core values whenever the opportunity arises. For instance, compliment your children when they do something that supports the values you’re teaching them. Furthermore, recognize that your behavior is an important part of teaching through example.
You can even create your own family traditions that support your values. Create holiday rituals, weekend rituals, and family practices that support the values you find important. Spend time together and call a family meeting if something needs to be discussed or refocused on. Creating family norms helps then know what to do and how to act in a difficult time.
Best Quote On Family Values
I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you’re going. That’s family values.” -Al Sharpton
I love that quote on family values because it is exactly right. Kids often learn values by our example just as much as by our words. If words and actions mirror each other, that is the most meaningful way to teach family values. Our actions show how important something truly is to us even more than our words. Hypocrisy will not go unnoticed. On the other hand a true role model will never fail to inspire.
Public policy and political agenda don’t determine how you live your everyday life as much as the different values you were raised with the life experiences that shaped you. Teaching your children to understand and respect your set of family values will help them build a strong foundation for life. Setting clear expectations and communicating clearly is key to being on the same page. Sharing family beliefs will help unite you in a common purpose. How do you teach your kids about the importance of family values?