Ten important values
How does my child become a good person?
03/23/2019, 10:49 a.m. | rev, t-online.com
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If your own child has beaten, lied or stolen another child, the parents are worried. They fear that they will fail in their upbringing, that they will not succeed in conveying the right values. But how does this work and which values are particularly important? We give tips.
Our society demands a large number of values. Some are values that compete with each other. For example, quite different values are often demanded in professional life than in the family. Does it make any sense at all to convey certain ideals of human behaviour to children? In any case! Scientists have found that children in whose family certain values apply are happier. They experience more cordiality in their lives, are more resilient to problems and failures and usually also have a more optimistic attitude.
Ten important values for children
Wayne Dosick, religious scholar, psychologist and author of the book “Children need values. 10 Rules of Life that Giving Children Support and Orientation,” has produced a list of values that parents are strongly encouraged to give their children:
- sense of responsibility
- Striving for personal maturity
- the ability to believe in something
For Dosick, these are timeless values that will make children’s lives and people’s interaction with each other easier. Some of these values can also be found in the ideas of the children themselves. As part of the “Geolino-Unicef-Kinderwertemonitor 2014” children between the ages of six and 14 were asked which values are particularly important for them.
They particularly often mentioned family and friends. But they also value trust, reliability, security and honesty.
Toddlers must first learn compassion
The moral development from the affect-determined infant to the responsible adult is a long process that takes place over several stages: Values such as fairness, respect for others and their property, truthfulness, peaceableness or compassion are not yet pronounced in kindergarten age. Conflicts here are still very often fiercely fought out, there is a lot of cheating and if you want something, you rarely take into consideration that the “object of desire” belongs to someone else.
It takes a strong conscience to ensure that the toddler gradually abandons these undesirable behaviors. This is best supported by parents by strengthening their child’s ability to empathize. A compassionate child will soon try to act in a way that does not intentionally harm anyone else.
In order to strengthen the compassion of the little ones, experts recommend the induction method to parents: With the help of their parents, small children should discover that others feel the same feelings as themselves.
Parents do this by overreacting to their children’s negative behavior. If, for example, a mother’s child were to hit her arm, she would hold her arm with a sad and sad look and say, “Ouch, ouch! That hurts”. After a short time, the child will look similarly and in the best case begin to comfort and caress the mother. The child’s own feelings thus become visible and tangible and it gradually realises that certain behaviours lead to negative reactions on the part of others. Parents should only exaggerate their feelings to their child, but they should not try to explain them or even make the child feel guilty.
Many kindergartens also proceed in a similar way when it comes to conveying values: There, certain programs – the best known of which is the “Faustlos” project – are used to improve the social skills of the children, for example with the help of hand puppets. In schools, this is done in the form of dispute resolution programmes and in sports clubs through the “Fair Play” guidelines.
Primary school: Like you to me, so I to you!
By the beginning of primary school, children usually have already internalized many values. Nevertheless, characteristics such as fairness and helpfulness are often not very pronounced at this age. Giving in or voluntarily being satisfied with less than the other are behaviors that are rarely observed in this age group. Instead, it is usually the sense of balancing justice that determines the behaviour of the kids: if it is a matter of sharing sweets with each other, they must be weighed down to the milligram. And if only one Bobby Car is available when playing, each of the children must be allowed to spend exactly the same amount of time on the “car”. Otherwise, a fight is inevitable.
In order to overcome this phase, child psychologists advise parents to appeal to higher motivation: If the seven-year-old brother has to help more than the four-year-old sister with tidying up or household chores, even though he doesn’t understand this, parents could explain it as follows: “I want you to do this because you are the big brother”. Or: “Your sister is younger than you, so you can help her a little more. In our families we help each other.”
In this way, the child is no longer concerned only with the specific work that needs to be done, but with overriding values such as a sense of responsibility or helpfulness.
In later primary school years, most things can be explained with simple words: Parents can already talk to their children about the feelings of others or show the consequences of certain negative behaviour such as laziness, rudeness or a lack of helpfulness.
Of course, values are also conveyed through the good example of parents: Dealing with each other – even when there is a dispute – should be respectful and fair, and conversations about third parties should not be condescending or offensive to the child. In addition, the social and voluntary commitment of parents can serve as a wonderful role model for children. In sports clubs, in confirmation classes or, for example, with the boy scouts, children have the opportunity to support a good cause themselves.
Parent competition through Internet and television
Development researchers assume that moral development and thus the transmission of values is completed at the beginning of puberty. From this point on, it is important that children do not forget what they have learned. An undertaking that is not easy because of the growing influence of cliques and school classes, but also television, computers, smartphones and the Internet. While parents appeal to the peaceableness of their children, violence is played down through computer games or horror films.
This is where media education comes in: it is undoubtedly difficult for parents to always know what their pubescent children are watching on television or the Internet. However, they should not leave their children entirely to the media. They should control that television and Internet consumption does not increase immeasurably and that they show interest in their children’s programmes and games. If they do not agree with the content, they can talk to the children about it and discuss their motives for watching it with them.