Her Highness Sarah wondered at post 809 how to impart ‘mature adult values’ to young children. My response follows.
Let’s start by defining terms. ‘Immature adult values’ are yours that you don’t want your children to copy. ‘Mature adult values’ are what you’d like to see in your kids someday. Consequently, know yourself and learn how you influence others; that’s the place to start.
Whether intended or not, parents indoctrinate, teach, and preach values to children. The problem lies with how to exclude the immature. Kids will be ten times more likely to copy what you tell them not to do than what you tell them to do. That’s why setting the example teaches far more effectively than anything else.
Expect that everything you do, kids will ultimately copy. Some of it will be worse as you see it. Some of it will be better, but you likely won’t notice. So, get rid of those habitual practices that you don’t want copied. Stop smoking, cursing, drinking, cheating, lying, doing drugs, losing your temper, finding excuses, and so forth. Don’t blame others but boldly accept what you deserve for your mistakes. Stop finding excuses to miss church. Don’t let others persuade against your conscience. Of course, the list is both personal and endless. What you refuse to change, drop, or improve will be transmuted to kids as ‘mature’ and okay for adulthood. On the other hand, by using higher standards to make yourself a better person in your own eyes, you reduce the quantity and raise the quality of immature values that are eventually copied.
Mature values are passed on naturally as the result of three influences. (1)The more that children respect you, the more likely they will duplicate you. (2) The more respectfully and respectably you indoctrinate, teach, and preach, the more effectively they will listen and copy your interests. (3) The more admirable you appear as an example of a mature adult, the more likely you will be admired and duplicated. (Children figure out over time what mature adults SHOULD be and do, but they figure out they need to expend no more effort than parents do.)
The more children respect what you do and what you value, the more likely they will duplicate you. Note well, they first have to respect you. To achieve that, you must show them respect as a person first, as boy or girl second, and what they do third.
Setting a good example is the toughest part of influencing children. Many parents are notorious for this: “Do what I say, not what I do.” Children are equally notorious about not doing what parents say; instead they do exactly what parents don’t want. It’s the surest sign that parents and children are in competition and kids usually insist to themselves on having the last word.
Parent-and-child competition arises naturally and unintentionally from one thing: Lack of parental respect of children, and the lack normally begins in toddlerhood. If kids carry competition with parents into adolescence, their minds are more open than ever to peer pressures and their hearts to juvenile values.
Most parents want their children to turn out exemplary. In the final analysis, kids reflect the character of parents more than their habits. The more highly principled and dedicated the parents in living up to each other, family responsibility, and something bigger than themselves, the more reliably their offspring duplicate parental character. If you wish to raise better children, make yourself a better person and parent by showering respect upon spouse, kids, home, and self. Respect, much more than affection, is the most vital but forgotten and ignored ingredient of love.
Your Highness Sarah,
Perhaps I’ve addressed your concern in other posts, but I don’t know which. I recommend searching for these terms in CONTENTS page at blog top: adolescent, adolescence, mom, mother, and mothering.