Teaching Your Children Values

The Character Construction Site

by
Mary M Buxton LCSW, Inc.
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist

Introduction
Welcome!  This section is written to support you in teaching your children values. The ideas presented here should give you more concrete and practical ways to teach a value of the month.  These are only suggested values, offered to help you get more conscious of what you want to teach your children. You may skip some or add some values to the list.  It’s up to you.  But make no mistake; parents are THE MOST POWERFUL values teachers for their children.  Studies show that children have more autonomy, independence, and confidence and are happier when they have a developed values oriented behavior.  Now you have more information at your fingertips to help you teach values in a fun way. 

Weekly family meetings are an efficient way to set the tone and the challenge for the month’s character education value.  The approaches suggested here are simple but they require follow through.  Family meetings can create a strong, positive, character culture in your home.  The family meeting is a place to practice deep family discussion.  There can be three parts to a family meeting:

  1. Clear the decks - At the start of the meeting ask if anyone has any gripes to clear up about himself or herself or someone else.  There should be no response other than listening to what the person has to say.
  2. Review the week - Go around the table and talk about the week just completed.  How did it go for us?  What were the highs and lows?  What did we learn about ourselves? What did we get excited about?  Again, there does not need to be any response other than attentive listening. 
  3. Set goals - By setting one specific action step, we give ourselves something to take forth from the meeting.  This also sets up next week’s “Review the week”. You may want to focus on one character trait per month and implement one of the family activities each week.

Family meetings may be messy and awkward at first, but before long everyone will get into the routine.  Pass around the responsibility of running the meeting so that it’s not always the same person dragging everyone together.  If there is another adult in a parenting role in your home, it helps build teamwork to prepare them with this character education information prior to the meeting. 

Try “mandatory fun” a few times each month.  Mandatory fun is something enjoyable that you plan to do together as a group.  The “mandatory” is used because some family members can be too busy or reluctant to participate in something that will do wonders for them and the spirit of the family group.  Give everyone a chance to lead the activity with his or her idea of fun.  Let your children pull you into their passions.  You may also want to find a way to give back to the community as a family.

Parents

This information is split up into months.  The outline is the same for each month and goes as follows:

  • Month
  • Character Construction Site title
  • Value of the month
  • Credit to authors / books sited
  • Introduction
  • Definition
  • Guidelines, and
  • Family Activities. 

Click on the links below or in the left navigation area for each month’s activities:

These exercises were excerpted and adapted with the authors’ permission from Teaching Your Children Values by Linda and Richard Eyre, Simon and Schuster, Fireside, 1993. For more information on their tapes, books and Homebase organization call 801.581.0112. This is an excellent book with a twelve-month values plan.

Family meeting information adapted from The Biggest Job We’ll Ever Have: Find the Right Balance Between Character and Achievement for Your Child by Laura and Malcolm Gauld, Introduction by Marc Brown, author of the Arthur series, Scribner, 2002. For more information visit, www.thebiggestjob.org

7/25/11

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