Family Values – How to create and describe yours

Family values can be unstated or stated – what are yours?

Children and especially teens need clear direction and understanding of what family values parents and caregivers agree to. Family values when they are in the open and known by all members become a valuable tool to build cooperation and a family team.

What is important to you and your family?

In our family, we think that among other things this is important

  • We listen to each other
  • We show respect for each other.
  • We value learning by doing
  • We allow each other to do mistakes
  • We show that we like each other.
  • We are good friends.
  • We are kind to each other.
  • We all try to be as good as we can be.

    Family Values can be a cooperative process - and a great team builder

My oldest son has had problems with his ears since he was little. He had constant ear infections. A few years ago he even had hearing aid before he had surgery on one ear.

With all these ear problems he has had a natural reduction in his ability to hear what people say. His learning is strongly linked to the visual. He simply learns more of what he sees than by what he hears. This is evident when trying to talk for a long time with him. He loses focus and would love to go back to what he is doing.

One day I simply asked him “Do you know what the word listen really means?”

His answer gave me an aha feeling because he replied with a little tentative “No.”

It made me realize that we often put words in the mouths of our children and take for granted the children understand.

So, one evening we sat down in the kitchen and together we went through the words that symbolize what is important in our family.

We simply talked about what the word ”listen” really meant for us.

And we discovered four expectations we shared.

  1. Look at the person talking
  2. Avoid focusing on other things
  3. Try to understand what the other person is talking about.
  4. Turn off the inner thoughts speaking inside the head.

After that night, we all had a common picture of what the word “to listen” means. And both children understood this was a family value and it would be expected from each of us.

Now, when my oldest son is sitting and playing video games and I talk to him, he knows what I expect of him when I ask him to listen without having to put energy in my voice with “Listen to me !!!!” He knows what I expect.

I’ll admit there are still tons of nagging at home on and off. With “listening” we at least have something to start from.

Be aware parents of the boomerang!
“But Dad, you do not listen to me – look at me!”

Please share with me some of your family values – Afterall, we are all in this parenting gig together.

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