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What are parenting values?
Lisa here. Last week, Sarah talked to you about values- what they are and why we need them. This week we’re applying that idea to your parenting values. Just like your personal values, these are not moral or religious values. They are also not the values you are trying to teach your children. Parenting values are the qualities and characteristics that you want to possess or demonstrate as a parent. There may be some overlap with your personal values, but there will be some specific characteristics that only apply to your parenting.
Parenting values are about the kind of parent you want to be. Your parenting values affect everything from your parenting behaviors to how you relate to your children. For instance, it might be important to you to be a parent who creates an environment where your children can tell you anything without judgment. It might also be important to you to be a parent who prioritizes discipline and following the rules. Your parenting values are your compass, guiding the direction you’re heading in terms of your parenting.
Another key thing to know about parenting values is that all your values will not be of equal importance to you. There are some qualities that are critical to you. These are central to how you view yourself as a parent. Then there are some values you hold, but that are less important. For example, you might value being a fun, laid back parent and a parent who enforces rules and discipline. Although you may hold both values, they likely will not have the same level of importance and will get different priority in your interactions with your children.
Just like your personal values, parenting values are unique to each caregiver. They are based on what is most important to you as a parent. Some of your parenting values are ones you have adopted consciously and work hard to show in your interactions with your children. These are the ones that are easiest for you to identify because you have thought about them and have been intentional in expressing them.
However, you may be less aware of many of your parenting values. These are the values you have unconsciously adopted from other sources. A major influence on your parenting values, as I’m sure you know, is your own parents. If you have ever had a moment where you hear your own parents’ words coming out of your mouth, this might mean that some of their values have transferred to you.
Other influences on your parenting values are other parents that you know, parents in pop culture, and even some fictional parents from TV shows and movies. Whatever the influences on your parenting values, it is important to be aware of what your values truly are and to be intentional about which values you prioritize. We’ll talk more about that in future posts. For now, start thinking about your own parenting values and how you express them on a day-to-day basis.
Thanks for joining us! Next week, we’ll talk some more about why defining and understanding your parenting values is so important.
What are Values?
Sarah here. Kicking off our new blog with a post about a topic near and dear to my heart. Values. When you hear the word “values,” what comes to mind? Qualities that are virtuous based on religion? Or maybe you think about characteristics that embody morality? While the word “values” often gets associated with morality, spirituality and religion, we want you to expand your definition of the word.
Oxford Languages defines values in part as the following: “a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.” Based on this definition, it’s clear that values are highly personal, that values have to do with importance or meaning in life and that values relate to behavior.
Values provide us with direction in life. Think about a compass. A compass doesn’t specify what your endpoint should be- it only shows you what direction you’re going. Values are like your personal compass in life- there to show you whether you’re heading in the right direction based on what matters to you. And given that values are about life’s journey—not about a specific destination--we cannot ever fail at them. We may get off track or get lost, but if something matters to us, our values will help us return to our path.
Sometimes it’s helpful to think about values as the adjectives we want to describe us in life. They’re the qualities we want to possess, the characteristics we want to demonstrate, or what we want to be evident in our actions and relationships. For example, in the domain of family (which is of high importance to me), I aspire to be loving, loyal and close. I also value reciprocity, sharing, openness and humor in my family relationships. I get to decide the relative importance of a given life domain and I get to choose what is important to me in that area.
We’re going to be talking a lot about values over the coming months. Understanding your own values can help you evaluate whether you are behaving in ways and making choices that you feel good about in your life. For now, we just wanted to introduce you to this broader definition of the word and get you thinking about what matters to you.
Feel free to peruse our blog and see what Sarah and Lisa had to say about topics related to your needs as a busy parent. We will talk about everything from parenting values, to life hacks, to realistic self-care.
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