Moralizing and modeling are two ways that parents teach values. Moralizing is direct teaching and is best done in small doses. Some examples are:
- “You waited a long time without interrupting; I call that Patience!”
- “In this family, we solve problems with words, not hands.”
- “When you have a guest here, I expect you to help her feel included.”
Modeling is much more subtle. Do you want your child to be charitable? Invite her to join you at the homeless shelter.
Your Values on Consumerism, Militarism, and Stereotyping
Children are exposed to values from sources other than the family. Advertisers use multiple ways to market violent protagonists, culturally appropriated characters, sexualized apparel, gender stereotyped toys and realistic toy weapons.
What’s a family to do? Here’s where it’s important to clarify your own values. Can you list the top ten most important traits that you hope your child will exhibit? How will you communicate these to your child?
Conversations about values should not be a one-way street. Understanding what your child thinks will only occur if you provide opportunity for conversation and really listen. A family meeting could be devoted to values exploration, such as, “If we want a peaceful family, what kinds of toys should we have here?” or “What do you think about girls-only and boys-only toys in our family?” In these conversations, if you are finding differences of opinion, look for win-win solutions!
Suggested book: Without Spanking or Spoiling (1993) by E. Crary
Children and Nonviolence page 7 – print version pdf