Let’s begin with a very old, rather alarming but honest and soul-searching tale which you might have heard before.

Long time ago, there was a widow who loved her only son exceedingly, pampering and tolerating his mistakes and misbehaviors, and choosing to ignore even the obvious greed and disrespect towards others. The boy grew up to be an arrogant and ruthless man. One day, he saw a jewel he wanted on another man, and so he murdered the man and took the jewel.

Of course, no man can escape justice and this man was given the death sentenced. On the day of the execution, as a final request, he asked for his mother. When his mother arrived, she was in tears. In face of a last reunion, he asked her to come closer to him so that he could whisper some words into her ears. When she was near to him, to her surprise, he bit her ear! The mother cried and said “Son, why did you do that?” With tears of regret, he replied “why did you not discipline me when I was young? If you have done that, I would not have gone astray and got myself into this predicament!”

Stories like this and quotes like “a chip off the old block” are fierce reminders for us that parents indeed have a critical role in the lives of their children. Knowing this, what are you teaching your child from your words and actions, or even the lack of them? Do you sometimes find your children saying things that you say or doing things that you do? Or do your silence or ignores toward misbehaviors reflect a possible misinterpretation of approval? Are you aware that your child is watching your actions and listening to the words you say, looking and learning from you?

As much as they are taught, values can be caught by children. Most importantly, children learn values from their parents much more than anybody else because children will imitate adults whom they are attached to, and especially since parents spend most time with them. While research has shown that a large portion of a child’s values are set by the age of 8, it is never too early or late to start being that role model for your child!

What is your take away from this story about your role in developing your child’s values? What are some ways you do to instill values in your children?

Feel free to share your comments below!

This article is contributed by Deborah Lam, Melisa Neo, Wah Chia Ling & Yolanda Lai.

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