How to Teach Children to Align with Family Values
Now that you’ve chosen your family VALUES, and have started putting them into place, no doubt things have shifted somewhat. Perhaps your positive reinforcement as discussed in yesterday’s Blog (Day 6) is working. When your child does something in alignment with your VALUES and you “Catch Them Doing It Right” you acknowledge their performance. In this way you have supported their good behavior and even more positive results have followed.
Of course some children are more difficult to re-educate than others and the times when they fail to live up to the VALUES happen. Sometimes they may be just slightly off the mark and sometimes there actions may be a huge breech of your value system. It’s really important to be open to seeing and hearing where your child is and what he is or is not doing and accept him in that place. When you accept him wherever he/she is, then you can proceed from there.
While you accept your child as he or she currently is- you still want to take steps that will change his or her behavior so that it is more in line with the VALUES you have chosen. Following are some ideas of how to reinforce your Family Values in an on-going manner in your family.
Family Values Educational Process
1. Catch them doing it right! "Catch them doing it right"(Explained in detail in July 6th) Choosing Your Family Values for Raising Peaceful Children Part II It means just what is says, and that is your catch your children aligning with the family values and acknowledge them for their words or behaviors. Positive feedback sends a powerful message to children. One that says, I see you! I appreciate you! Thank you for your cooperation!
2. Gentle Reminders: Give them gentle reminders when they fall short and reinforce the “CORE VALLUE”. If your child is open to living by the Family Values and just forgets once in a while, a gentle reminder works well.
Perhaps your child continues playing even though you've asked her to come over and help to with put away some towels. A gentle reminder might be that you actually walk over to her, look her in the eyes, and say, "Please come and help now!" Sometimes being close to your child and having eye contact does help. This could be called a gentle reminder.
Another situation might be as follows: Your children 4, 6, 9 and 12 are playing a game together. The 9 year old begins spinning for the 4 year old instead allowing her to spin for herself. You might say something like: “Let your sister spin herself, that way she learns how to play.” And if the 9 year old agrees, then both the conversation and the potential for a turbulent confrontation between the older and younger child are over. Gentle reminders just help children to learn the way to do things.
3. Additional input: Music/Books/Videos
Bringing in addition material is just a wonderful way to reinforce your Family Values. Red Grammer creates wonderful l music for helping children learn about Peaceful Living in a very fun and easy way.
He has a CD called Teaching Peace with 12 fabulous songs on it for children. If this approach interests you check out the website www.RedGrammer.com.
There is another tool that I have used for years to teach compassion and understanding. Specificity I have read to children many of the various stories about Koko, the Gorilla. Koko is a gorilla who has been under the care of Dr. Penny Patterson for around 40 years. She uses sign language as well as art to communicate. She has feelings and is very compassionate. I feel that children can learn these qualities when they hear stories about them, given when animals are involved. A good place to start is the website www.Koko.org
4. "Teaching Moments" to reinforce Family Values:
When/ if children fall short of living one of your Family Values in a significant manner, make it a “Teaching Moment”!
These is actually the process that I believe helps children to transition from non- aligning with the family values to aligning with them.
I’ve discovered through my years of parenting, teaching and consulting, that if you make a BIG DEAL about one or two situations, as they occur there is a huge impact in ALL behavior in the following days, months and even years.
I was working with two children ages 5 and 10 years of age. The little 5 year old, Tim was a very active little boy and the 10 year old, Tiffany, was a very articulate little girl. The values the family had chosen were:
FOUR CORE VALUES:
RESPECTFUL CREATIVE KINDNESS COOPERATION
HAPPINESS CALM PEACE COMPASSION
So after they had been working with the FAMILY VALUES for several weeks they knew them well. However, living them was very different matter. At times the smallest thing would lead to a huge argument. One day when the children came into the office, they both headed for the “blue patted” chair. In doing so, they bumped and stepped on each others feet. Tiffany says, “Tim pushed me!” Tim yells, “You started it!”
So these are my question to you:
What would you do?
Would you let the moment pass and get them in separate chairs?
Would you address the verbal exchange?
How would you handle this?
I invite you to ponder this.
Tomorrow I will share with you in this blog, one way I’ve learned to make such moments into a “Teaching Moment”!
Another such teaching moment occurred years ago in our family. This was something that was much more serious. One of my children came home extremely late one night.
Once she arrived home safely at 4:00 am, the hours of conversation and compassion I spent with her after her arrival made an impact that lasted forever. I was very emotional, showing her how concerned I was and how worried! She got it! I’m happy to say I never had to deal with that situation again!
When you deeply respond to a child living the opposite of your value, you can make a significant difference in their future behavior for a long time.
AND when this is done consistently, over a few months, you can truly align make an impact in the way they align with a desired value.
See you tomorrow... with more on Raising Peaceful Children!