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Parenting Tips: Family Values That Build Character in Kids

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Family values build character in kids. Three family values that increase character include, attention, time, and school.

First Parenting Tip - Listen with attention

My friend, Claire, is a mother and a marriage counselor. Family values are important to Claire too. This is one of Claire's parenting tips to build character in your kids:

"Give your child your full attention. Listen without an agenda. Give your child all the time she or he needs to develop his or her thoughts."

Second Parenting Tip - Be involved in your child's schooling.

Family values are important to my friend, Beth. Beth is the office manager in one of our local elementary schools. Her school serves hundreds of kids from many different countries speaking many different languages. This is one of Beth's parenting tips to build character in kids:

Be involved in your child's schooling. Help in your child's classroom. Help with your child's homework. Work with your child's teacher whether your child is having a school problem or is a school problem. If you form a partnership with your child's teacher you will build character in your child."

Many parents don't get involved in their child's schooling because they don't realize the value of their own participation. Participating means making sure homework is completed before play, TV, and videos. Getting involved in schooling and homework demonstrates family values that build character in kids.

Third Parenting Tip - Spend time with your kids:

The following is a quote from Bill Cosby in Juan Williams' book, Enough. Although Mr. Cosby spoke to a select group of parents, his family values are for all parents.

Mr. Cosby asked parents, "Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was twelve [or] eighteen and how come you didn't know he had a pistol?

Mr. Cosby's words get standing ovations because he's telling parents what needs to be said. Parents must be involved in their children's lives.

Listen parents. I know it's difficult to be involved when there are so many things on your mind. It's easy to think your child's thoughts are not that important when you are busy. Here is a 10-10-10 rule that I heard from my toastmaster friend, Walter. If you are busy and your child wants to talk, or asks you to attend a game, or go to a school event, consider asking yourself the following questions.

The 10-10-10 Rule

  • Will not listening to my child be important 10 minutes from now?
  • Will not listening to my child be important 10 months from now?
  • Will not listening to my child be important 10 years from now?

One more thing, if you develop the habit of not listening, why would your child ever seek your advice? Imagine the turbulent teenage years. Who will your child be speaking with then?

When you're tempted to attend to your many tasks and not your child, consider Claire's advice, Beth's counsel, Bill Cosby's words, and, Walter's rule. Then choose the family values that build character in your kids.

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