How To Educate Children In Values
Education in values is probably the greatest challenge parents have to face. And it is that developing certain values in children is complicated, if you adopt a too rigid posture you run the risk of falling into indoctrination but if you assume a too permissive attitude you give way to relativization and confusion. The key lies in finding a middle ground, in transmitting certain values but, at the same time, developing a critical attitude. How to do it?
Children learn, essentially, by imitation. And until they reach adolescence, their main role model will be their parents. That means that the best way to transmit the values is by putting them into practice, being consistent with what you preach. Children are very sensitive and they notice when we say one thing but do another, they notice when we tell them that they should not lie but then we do it. Therefore, if you want your child to be respectful, responsible and sincere, you should be too.
Educating a child is not like sculpting on a rock, but rather offering them the tools so that the child himself sculpts. This means that you should not instill your scale of values and hope that it is a true reflection but rather stimulate their critical thinking and make them understand why certain behaviors are positive. Do not force him to behave in a certain way because imposed things always generate rejection. Explain why he must assume certain attitudes and try to make him reflect on what is behind each behavior that you want to promote.
One of the biggest mistakes made in values education is to think of values as abstract concepts. If you tell the child that he should be responsible, he may not understand very well what you are referring to. However, everything changes when you land that value and turn it into something personal, an experience that can be felt. Therefore, explain what it means to be responsible in their daily life through actions ranging from making their bed when they wake up to doing their homework when they return from school.
Values have the objective of modulating social relations, they are a set of behaviors and attitudes that society considers desirable for everything to go well. Therefore, a strategy to educate in values consists of making the child put himself in the place of others, especially when he behaves in an inappropriate way. For example, if he has been rude to someone, instead of punishing him, you can ask him to reflect on his behavior, to think about how that person felt and if he would have liked to be in their situation. You must not forget that most children are still very egocentric and have a hard time putting themselves in the other’s shoes.
One of the mistakes that is made when educating in values is to become judges of everything and everyone. However, humility is also a value. Therefore, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes in front of your child. If you have made a mistake, apologize and try to amend the ruling, that will not make you lose authority but quite the opposite. Take the opportunity to explain that we all make mistakes but that the important thing is to apologize and try to solve the error. In this way you will not only be educating a more humble person but also more self-confident, who will not be afraid of mistakes but will understand them as a part of learning.