As a father, you have many roles in the life of your child: caregiver, protector, role model, and provider. But it’s important to remember one of the most crucial jobs a parent has — they are their children’s teacher.
Values are learned early in life and become the building blocks our children use when growing up. They shape their priorities and are a determining factor of their success in the world. Though values are personal and unique to each of us, there are some values that are fundamental to good mental health, close relationships, and a positive self-esteem. Make teaching the following 3 values a priority and watch your children grow up into happy and healthy adults.
1. Compassion for Self and Others
Compassion is the ability to be with our own pain or the pain of another without judgment or an immediate need to provide a solution. All emotions are part of a natural spectrum, and it’s important for your little one to learn that just because an emotion may be difficult, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong or bad. This will help your children learn the skill of emotional agility, allowing them to navigate their inner world with more ease and internal support. When children are equipped with compassion for themselves and others, they avoid unhealthy patterns of repressing and brooding, and instead develop confidence and vibrant mental health.
Tip: Support your children in developing compassion by encouraging them to explore and name their feelings. Rather than seeking to immediately calm a crying child, instead help them to understand and express their sadness.
Respect is a byproduct of teaching self-compassion. When children develop a non-judgemental attitude towards their own experience and the experiences of others, they learn how to respect others’ differences too. In a culture that propagates attitudes of false divisions, teaching your children respect offers them an opportunity to discover common ground with others. This improves social skills, a sense of internal security, and even employability later in life. Help your children learn how to respect others by attuning them to how their actions affect others.
Tip: Respect can be a difficult concept for kids to understand. Help break it down by explaining that respectful behavior means acting in a way that shows you care about another person’s feelings and wellbeing.
Because values vary from family to family and person to person, no one other than you can determine the right values to teach your child. Your child may also end up having some values unique to them and their understanding of the world. Because of this, it’s crucial to teach your children integrity, which is the ability to take action that reflects our beliefs and values. Integrity is less about morality, and more about a union of the way we live our lives and the values we preach. By teaching integrity to your children, you are equipping them with the capacity to stand up for what they believe in — even when it may be an unpopular choice. Integrity can be their secret power when faced with peer pressure, bullying and other injustices.
Tip: Integrity is mostly learned through modeled behavior. Make sure your children see you living a life that’s in line with what you say you value. If you promote a healthy lifestyle, consider incorporating more recreational play and activity into your parenting activities to show that you walk the talk.
Whatever your personal values may be, a healthy foundation includes compassion for self and others, respect and integrity. Try out these tips and know that you’re on the right path to setting your child up for success.