Instilling Values in Children: Where Are Your Children Learning Their Values?

Instilling values in children is something many parents talk about, but few know how to actually do. Children today are influenced by many people and many things.

Whenever I talk about influences, I usually start with what influenced me growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. And it’s a short list: my parents, my grandparents, school, and, of course, Channels 3, 5, 8, and 43! If you’re from Cleveland, you know what I’m talking about, if not, those were the only television channels we had growing up, and they were all relatively similar.

These days, things are drastically different. Children have hundreds of TV channels to scroll through and endless amounts of online content at their fingertips. Because of this, we have to be more intentional when it comes to instilling values in children, something that is addressed in the book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups by Dr. Leonard Sax.

Instilling Values in Children

As a practicing pediatrician and child psychologist, Dr. Sax has seen plenty. And one of the biggest things he’s observed recently is that parents are losing their authority with their children and that children are influenced more by their peers than they are by their parents.

Think about the consequences of this for a moment. We are becoming a culture that children care more about learning from their peers than they do from their parents. Dr. Sax says part of this reason is that parents are suffering from “role confusion” and the authority they ought to have.

Why is this happening? Well, parents want their kids to be happy, fit in, and be popular, and when they put that before teaching values and expectations and invoking their authority, the collapse of parenting begins. This is rolling over into our schools, as well. My wife, Monica, is a sixth-grade teacher and she’ll tell you — more often than not, when parents come in to discuss their children’s issues, it’s never the child’s fault, it’s the teacher’s fault.

To make matters worse, as Dr. Sax points out, the media is even reducing the role and respect of parenting, thanks to various television shows and movies that highlight aloof parents with no authority and kids who are the smart ones and the ones running the show.

In today’s society, our children are being influenced continuously and as parents, we can’t possibly influence them at the pace media can. Therefore, you really only have one choice, you have to be intentional and invoke your parenting authority. I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy of The Collapse of Parenting and get back to invoking your authority, teaching values, and preparing your children for life in the real world.

Family Values


Want to learn more about instilling values in children? Click here and read the book on it!

Author: Dale W. Vernon
Dale, a business and investment advisor and professed imperfect father of three children, is co-author of How Imperfect Parents Lead Great Families. He is a frequent speaker about the importance of establishing family values, creating a culture of communication in your home and being an intentional parent that understands the importance of being the best example you can for your children.
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