It’s important to note that the children we have today will be adults soon enough. What is also important to note is that they will have the full responsibilities that we have as adults too. This means they will work, they will be in relationships, and they may have children. So, what we can do as good parents is teach them necessary values that will help them succeed as they venture towards adulthood.
It really doesn’t matter what age the children are currently at. As soon as a child can make choices, we must start teaching them certain values. We usually start with “no”, and, “don’t touch”. But, we can’t stop there.
As they grow more, they will test their boundaries more, and that is where we need to start providing some structure in their lives.
We sometimes think that our kids are too young to learn grown up things like confidence and manners, but they aren’t. In many instances, our kids are only really limited by what we think they can do. There are two, and, three-year-old kids who can practice martial arts or play musical instruments.
This is because the parents mentored that child in those arts. Had they just decided, “ah, she’s too young to learn that yet; maybe we should wait until she’s five”, then, that child wouldn’t learn the art until then.
As mentioned, what we teach our children when they are young will often carry with them into adulthood. This includes; beliefs, behaviors, emotion control, knowledge, which would include wisdom in finances and work ethics.
And, what we teach our kids will be with them when they are out making choices and decisions that will impact their daily lives and their futures.
What are some great values that we can start teaching our kids today?
So, I did mention that it doesn’t matter what age the child is; we can start teaching them right away. If they are young, this will be a bit easier. They might kick and scream a little, but in time, they will come around.
If they are already teens, this might prove to be a bit more difficult. Especially if Mom or Dad haven’t been practicing the same values we now want to instill.
The solution to this process is to lead by example. If we have lost some credibility as a parent because we made some poor choices in our lives, then, we can get started now by practicing what we preach. This is what will give us credibility again.
As for the younger children, we also must lead by example. But, in many instances, we need to communicate what it is that we are doing so we can be sure they understand. As we start working with “our” kids, we will learn how “our” kids respond.
I can’t simply say what technique will or won’t work for any individual family. What I am trying to say is that, as a parent, it is on us to figure that out, and start teaching.
There are so many things we can teach kids and I can’t list them all here; but, if we think about struggles and difficulties that we as parents face now, we can start prepping them for similar situations.
The hope is that they won’t need to experience the difficulties that we experience, but we need to be aware that they very well will face some trials in life.
There are five values that come to mind that would be beneficial to most adults, and, soon-to-be adults. These are:
1. We must teach our kids to be confident
Confidence is one of those things that will help move us a long way. How do we become confident though?
Through experiences are a common way. Encouragement from others is another way. Hearing it often will help it set in.
This is why it is important to tell our kids that we are proud of them; regardless of size of accomplishment or what position they finished in.
If we put too much emphasis on them being the best, or, always coming in first place, this can really backfire later when they struggle to live up to all the responsibilities in life, or, fail to meet a goal.
It is excellent to teach our kids to have a competitive mindset, but, we must do it in a way that also teaches them that second-place is okay too. We can do this by teaching them that failure is a lesson that they can learn from; not a set-back that must cast them into depression.
It is helpful if we can teach them to celebrate other’s victories. This will instill a sense of companionship, a team-oriented mindset, as well as, it will help them learn how to build others up.
2. We must teach our kids to be optimistic
Are you a positive person or a negative person? How does your attitude affect your daily living? Would you agree that an optimistic person is met with more opportunity in life?
I spent many years being negative. I was negative about everything. I didn’t grow up in an environment full of optimistic people, nor was I taught about optimism and pessimism.
I also grew up with very little structure and was effectively able to set my own rules as a teenager. The result of this kind of living was that I had no understanding of what it meant to think positively, to act maturely, or, to take responsibility for my actions.
Fast-forward many years and I find myself still learning how to live. I find that the pessimism hasn’t completely left me. I practice optimism everyday, but not without its battles.
Do we need a positive attitude to be successful? I don’t think so. I think if a negative-thinking person tries to accomplish something, they are just as likely as a positive-minded person to achieve the goal. But, it might be with more difficulty.
Grumbling and frustration might be part of the journey. A lack of support might also be evident as people often don’t want to spend much time around negative people.
Instead of leaving it to chance to see how our kids will turn out, we can start getting them thinking on the positive side right away.
We can help them understand that they can either focus on what went wrong, or, what went right. We can also teach them to be always watching for a better way to do things.
If they spend most of their time thinking about all the things that are possible, this is what will come to mind when they are met with difficulty.
I would also say that if we don’t let our children dream and be excited about what they might become when they are older, they might adopt a negative mindset when they keep hearing, “you can’t”, instead of, “you can”.
3. We must teach our kids the importance of respect
For this point, I would look at respect in two ways; self-respect and outward respect to others. It is equally important that we respect ourselves as we do others.
If we teach our kids about respect early on, they will have an easier time in the future. I say this because as I didn’t have much structure, I also didn’t learn much about respect.
For me, this turned into an ongoing challenge to respect authority. I didn’t like adults telling me what to do, I didn’t respect the authority of bosses and team-lead’s, nor did I have any respect for the law. Self-respect was not big on my to-do list either.
By teaching our kids about respect, they will be more respected as a result. If we treat others with respect, we are often rewarded with the same treatment from others. When people around us see us as respectful and kind, we are more likely to be put in positions where we can be met with opportunity.
Teaching our kids to be confident about themselves, and their abilities, and, teaching them to take care of their health are simple ways to get them started on self-respect. We can further help them by teaching them the importance of speaking good about self, and, making good choices that will have a positive outcome for them.
4. Self-Discipline is one of the best values we can teach our kids
Okay, so, probably no child is going to like this one as most adults don’t either. But, it is very beneficial to learn; child and adult.
Self-discipline is where we choose to not take the easy path, or, the popular path. Self-discipline is where we keep doing the right thing day after day after day, even when we aren’t rewarded, or, see immediate benefit.
By knowing that we are doing the right thing, and, by sticking to it, we will be met with beneficial and ideal circumstances. But, that is the hard part, right? Sticking to it when we aren’t rewarded?
When we do something time, and, time again, it starts to become habit. A habit is something that, once in place, becomes quite easy for us. The more we practice, the easier it gets and the better we get. It is when we do something that isn’t habit that it becomes difficult.
So, teaching our kids to make their beds each day and throw their laundry into the laundry basket instead of on the floor does matter. If they continue to do this each day, without reward, it will become a habit. This is simple housekeeping, yet, many have missed this class.
Also, getting them to do their homework as soon as they get it is good too. It teaches them to not procrastinate; that getting the work done right away leaves time after to enjoy and relax. And, if they learn the value of efficiency, they will likely be met with much success in the workplace later on.
5. We must teach our kids to be honest
Being trustworthy has many benefits. We always want our kids to be honest and up front with us. In fact, we want everyone to be honest and up front with us. When they aren’t, we feel betrayed, and maybe, disrespected.
When we are dishonest about even a little thing, this can grow into a larger thing. It is sometimes difficult to be honest about something because it isn’t fun to let others down, or, to receive punishment. However, honesty is freeing.
By teaching our kids to be honest and up front about their actions, we can effectively help them to walk with clear consciences.
If they pick up this habit and value early on, they will likely practice it throughout life too; in school, at home, with friends, in relationships, and at work.
Employers love honest workers. Honesty builds credibility and a good reputation. Having a clear conscience encourages better overall self-confidence. These are just a few benefits of being an honest person. And, there are many more.
If we choose to have children, we must also choose to take responsibility for them. Kids can be great fun. They can also grow into difficult persons. We can’t truly know how our children will turn out, but, we can do a few things now to equip them with values and behaviors that will help them as they age.
Regardless of what stage of parenting you are in; if you have children living in your house, you as an adult are an influence. Try teaching and displaying the five values found in this article to get them started on their way to a future where they can find success and well-being.