When you are about to have kids or you are starting a family, knowing what values you want your family to represent is important? You may have a general idea of your beliefs, morals, and your values, but you may not have an idea of what your family values are. In this post, we’ll explain what family values are and how to identify your own.
What Are Family Values?
The term “family values” describes what you want your family life to represent. They can come from a combination of what your parents believed, your own beliefs, principles from your faith or philosophy, and various other sources.
Family values are there to show your children an example, and to help you determine which behavior is morally right or wrong. They can also help your family with goals. Having goals is important for any family, and by having certain values, it can make it much easier to pursue those goals.
Values Come in Similar Categories
What makes family values so interesting is that even though they can be quite subjective, you can still put most values in a few categories. These include social, political, religious, work, and recreational values. Let’s take a look at what these mean.
Social values cover anything that involves community, interaction, and anything else in your social world. Someone may have social values that say that you should mind your business unless someone is hurting another person. Meanwhile, another person may have values that say you should care if someone is doing something you find morally wrong, even if that person isn’t hurting anyone.
Social values can involve serving the community, from doing volunteer work to donation. They also involve how you interact with another person. What manners do you find respectful? For example:
Your political values are important when determining how you raise your family. While most parents aren’t going to talk to their 3-year-old about conservatism, many parents will instill values from their political philosophy. Some parents may say that all authorities should be trusted, while others may instill a more anti-authoritarian belief system. There are some families that may teach that all success involves working hard, while others may believe the system is rigged.
Religious values can involve beliefs that are both secular and non. For instance, your religion may have values such as treating others how you want to be treated. Alternatively, you may teach your children that all morality comes from God. Some parents may be moderately religious, while others may be more extreme, and expect their children to be the same.
Families can have different values in regards to work. There are some who expect their children to work hard for everything, while others may believe that a kid deserves a little treat. Some families teach the value of saving money. There are some who believe that college is a necessity to go far, while others may believe it’s a waste of money.
This is how you spend family time. A good family knows how to have fun, and different families may have their own recreational values. For example, some families may schedule an hour of playing outside, or they may have a traditional family game night. There are some families who may travel more, while other families may believe that the best recreation is at home.
It Reflects the Values of Your Family
There may be a separation between individual and family values. Someone’s beliefs may differ slightly from the rest of their family, but when they’re with the family as a whole, their values may shift a bit. For instance, someone may have different religious beliefs, but they do respect their family’s faith during their gatherings.
Creating Your Own Family Values
For some families, their values are like an unwritten rule. For others, there is an established list, if you will.
One of the best ways to make your family values is to have input from your entire family. It’s called family values for a reason. Have everyone, including the kids, give input into what values should best represent your family. This may not be something that happens overnight, and it could require a few meetings to get it all down.
Creating a Mission Statement
It may sound a little goofy, but many families work well by having their own mission statement or motto that best represents their family. Instead of a list of values, maybe having a mission statement of “be cool to one another,” is what you need to install good family values.
Think About What Best Describes the Family
When you think of the family, what are some words that come to mind? What strengths come into play? This is something you should ask each family member about, as you may end up getting different answers. However, you can soon learn what common meanings people share.
Don’t Have Too Many Ideas
Family values shouldn’t be like laws in a country. Stick to ten or fewer ideas. Too many can feel overwhelming.
Values Can Change
When writing down your family values, just remember that nothing is set in stone. Quite often, you may find that family values evolve over time. For some families, certain values like empathy may be emphasized with time. For other families, faith can increase or decrease over time. Make sure that this list can be revised whenever possible, and you should be good.
Try Family Counseling
If your family can’t agree on values, or you don’t know which values should define your family, this can be a job for a family counselor. When you think of a family counselor, you may imagine someone who repairs broken family ties, but these counselors help with more than just that. They can help families find themselves and their values.
In conclusion, family values aren’t that complex to figure out, but they do require a little bit of thinking. Make it a family effort.
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