What are some positive values you want to cultivate in your children?

In a poll conducted on The New Age Parents’ Facebook page in 2012, parents were asked to name the top three values they would like their child to have.

The results showed that honesty/integrity was the top value parents want their child to have, followed by respect and kindness.

Interestingly, in a special report issue from The Straits Times (Refer to “Values We Value”, March 3, 2012), honesty and kindness are also a repeated priority.

developing moral values in children

How can you help your child to learn these values? Where can you begin?

A good illustration is that of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s daughter, Lee Wei Ling, who often recall fondly and described how Mrs Lee has always demonstrated through her daily life to her and her sibling’s values such as frugality and humility, which are still reflected in all their lifestyles.

We believe the solution is this: Parents + Role Modeling = Positive Values

If you want your child to grow up with positive values that will shape their character for their future, intentional effort on your part is required to be good role models for their children. Here are three small “start-stop-do” tips:

#1 Start young and early

The preschool years are crucial for you to inculcate values in your child. Values are what we carry with us in future. Most importantly, this is the period where children learn by observing and intimating adults who they are attached with. Start now, by being intentional in displaying the positive dispositions you want to have cultivated in your children!

#2 Stop negative “normalized behavior”

Research has largely shown that if a child sees his father hit his mother, he will grow up thinking that this is a normal behavior. Then, when he grows up to be a father, the cycle of violence is perpetuated. Psychologists call this “normalized behavior”. Are there any negative behavior that has been “normalized” at your home? It is time to stop them.

#3 Do what you want to see

If you are teaching about respect, be polite to the people you interact with. If you are teaching about compassion, give up the seat to those who need the seat more than you do. If you are teaching about being honest, return a lost and found item.

What is a parent’s role in developing values in their children?

Teach Children Spirit Of Giving

We would like to share a simple but useful “PARENTS” tip that will provide you with examples on how you can go about being intentional in teaching positive values to your little ones.

P– Provide opportunities to develop and practice values with children

Encourage them to help others and assign roles and responsibilities for them to take on at home, such as to help to household chores.

A– Acknowledge and applaud specific good actions of your child

When you notice your child keeping toys away, praise your child! Tell them you like it when they use words like “please and thank you”.

R– Read stories related to the desired values for your child

Talk to them about the behaviours of the characters in the stories. Such books can be easily obtained in the library and reading together has many other language benefits.

E– Engage in intentional conversations

This can be related to particular values such as telling them exactly what “honesty” is about, and what if people are dishonest and its consequences.

N– Not turning blind eye to unacceptable behaviour

Address issues that arise then and there. For example if a child displays rudeness, stop the child immediately and correct them.

T– Take advantage of teachable moments

Seize opportunities that arise to highlight values. When you give up the seat to an elderly or observe someone doing or even not doing so, talk to your child about why that is done and what he/she can do in the future.

S– Set a good example

Make sure you do what you preach! It will not make sense to a child for you to talk about being polite and then hearing you snapping at the waitress during dinner.

With these examples, here is a beautiful poem from Dorothy Law Nolte to remind us that whatever values and effort we invest in the children today will determine the adult whom she will blossoms into one day.

With these examples, here is a beautiful poem from Dorothy Law Nolte to remind us that whatever values and effort we invest in the children today will determine the adult whom she will blossoms into one day.

If A Child Lives With… by Dorothy Law Nolte tips for parents

“If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilt.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative.
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to trust in himself and others.
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live.”

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

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