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In this highly digitized society, sometimes it’s difficult to discern exactly what children are learning from things like video games, television, peers, computer games, YouTube videos, etc. And sometimes it’s crystal clear.

So how then, do we as parents, counteract what children are learning from society? How are parents supposed to compete with that?

The simple answer is- we shouldn’t.

Parents should be the first source when it comes to teaching values to children.

But, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a parent might become a secondary source. However, by starting at a young age or reinforcing values consistently, a parent can become the primary source- as they should be. I feel it is, after all, part of our responsibility as parents to raise kids with character.

As parents, we have a role to play in society. Part of that role includes teaching values to our children.

When do kids learn about values?

Kids learn about their parents’ value system as well as how they see current events.

Issues like race, religion, sexual orientation, violence and even financial issues can weigh heavy on their minds. Parents are a lifeline to the truth of any issue. They can instill hope and alternatives in a society that teaches many things that are contrary to traditional values.

How many parents watch television, listen to music or play video games with their kids?

There are parental controls available for all sorts of technology to make sure they don’t view the raunchy stuff, but it’s not the same as taking a more active role in what they are watching.

Besides, we are talking about kids who learn more about operating electronic devices in elementary school than their parents know right now. They can bypass whatever security measures they want with a bit of ingenuity.

So, why are some kids affected in a different way by the society they see through media? Parental involvement might make the difference.

Watching programs with kids can spark questions and discussions that get at the heart of their feelings and the truth behind what is seen on the tube. Even the news can have a particular slant to their broadcast depending on what effect they are trying to achieve. This can be disturbing as many people are taught to trust the newscast as fact.

Parenting is never easy. And, to date, there is no comprehensive, one size fits all parenting manual out there.

Fortunately there is hope and there are ways to teach values to our children with ethical parenting.

Ethical parenting is not a new thing, but a return to some more traditional ways of raising children. It is the belief that when you give your children the proper tools to begin with, they can use those as the basis for their value system. There is an adage that says that if you bring a man a fish, he will eat for a day.

But if you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.

Two Simple Ways to Teach Values to Kids

Do as I Say and as I Do

It’s okay to have opinions. We all do. However, if you are venting about a co-worker or the parent of another child, do so out of earshot of your child.

Explaining your comments may be harder than you think. Ethical parenting also raises the bar for you as you are called to examine some of your actions that may have become automatic over the years. Examples include speaking nice to someone to their face and then talking about them later, being impolite to others, parking in handicapped spots, disrespecting others and the like.

When our kids draw attention to our habits by asking questions, we are afforded a rare opportunity. We see things through their eyes. Maybe we confront shaky beliefs and make changes for the better for our lives and theirs. Parenting could lead us to a better peace of mind. Our children are the future – prepare them well.

What Do You Believe In?

There are times in life when circumstances will test you.

That is when our beliefs and values become most important. As young people, we often fly by the seat of our pants, but at some point life will nail us down and demand that we take a stand. One of those times is parenthood. The addition of another life into yours means working out the particulars of who you really are in an effort to pass it on to the next generation.

Having a value system is like having a rudder on a boat. It can be used to steer you one way or another depending on where you want to go. Without a rudder, a boat will be tossed by the waves and the winds. When a storm comes round, the boat has no chance of staying clear of the danger.

What are some of the more notable principles of parenthood to keep in mind, and how do you view them? Here are a few.

* Tolerance – How do you view those of other backgrounds, religions, and races? Are you concerned about injustice in society or only if it pertains to you? An understanding of differences can help you accept them in others.

* Honesty – This has nothing to do with being a good person. And, it’s about more than telling the truth. Do you fudge your taxes, take advantage of others or spread rumors about others to get your way?

* Trustworthiness – Is your word reliable or do you say what you need to in order to get what you want? Do you withhold the entire truth from others to spare their feelings or to save yourself?

These questions are not meant to point out that you are a rotten person.

Many of our behaviors are learned from our parents, peers and life experiences. Because they were never challenged, we adopted them and they became second nature. Sometimes it just takes a deeper look to discover that there are characteristics of our lives that we have neglected that need to be amended in some way.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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9 years ago

Yes parenting IS tough and we never get it perfect but our kids soak up so much from us that we have to be on guard. Living our lives and being an example of what we want them to follow is the way we go. Your points are all so important and having a strong faith is number one for us. Do we fail? Sure, but I think it’s so important to teach your kids that when we do fail we ask for forgiveness and allow God to lead us on through. Thanks for sharing!

9 years ago

Great post! I love the part about teaching tolerance, Honesty and trustworthiness. One thing that came to my mind was Integrity. that is one we are working on!

Donella Crigger
9 years ago

This is a topic I’ve been thinking about lately, especially with regard to respect. For example, if I want our son to respect his dad, I have to model that for him, and my husband has to model it in order for our son to respect me. It’s an awesome and humbling thing to think that you’re responsible for molding a little person!

9 years ago

These are great tips Kori I have witnessed so many children in my job as a school nurse who are raised in a way that is so sad for society…if only they were taught kindness at home!