Values-based parenting

Boys Town

Parents often unwittingly focus too much on the extreme highs and lows that come with parenting children and teens: either they are being “good” or “bad,” in trouble or doing great things, earning “A’s” in school or getting unacceptable grades. While accomplishments and goals are important, there may be more to consider when implementing a positive, effective parenting approach. That’s where values based parenting steps in.

Values are principles or standards of behavior that you deem important in life. To talk about values is to talk about what kind of person you want your child to be

“It’s those qualities that if you could fast forward in 10 years and you see them getting an award and you have people say good things about your daughter or son, what do you hope the say,” said Julie Almquist, Boys Town Psychologist.

Some examples of values include: honesty, compassion, trustworthiness, generosity, self-respect, self-discipline, resilience, and many more.

Here are some ways you can be a values-based focused parent:

  • Determine the values that are important to you and your family. Think about the behaviors and characteristics you believe are important for your child or teen to learn and use in their lives.
  • Discuss those values with your kids. Explain what values are, why they are important, and go over some of the ones you plan to emphasize and teach.
  • Look for opportunities to reinforce and teach your family values. When you see your kids using a value, reinforce it by praising them.
  • Model the values you want your children and teens to learn and use. Kids do not always listen to what you have to say but they are always watching what you do. Make sure you use the values you find important in your own life.

Values-based parenting can easily be added to your parenting approach. It’s an adjustment in your mindset and focus. You can start this process when your children are young in very simple discussions, and as they mature, you can make the discussions more complex.