Family Values: What Children Learn from Parents, by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD

The phrase “family values” conjures an array of reactions in today’s politically charged world. And that’s a shame. Because whether our family values are conservative or liberal, they shouldn’t really change the ideals we hold for raising and educating our children.

Family values have far too long been associated with one’s political agenda, particularly in the United States. In reality, family values have much more to do with how a child learns to thrive in life than whether that child’s parents oppose gay rights or support gun control.

Our family values are a reflection of who we are and how we parent. When we articulate and live those values, our children learn life lessons. They learn to express themselves, solve problems, grow from mistakes, and develop other skills and abilities that lead to fulfilling lives. Parents learn too.

Some parents have been led to believe that grades are the most important measure of their child’s learning. While no one would disagree that academic learning is vital to success in 21st century careers, parents have the ability to teach children so much more through their family values.

The Compass Advantage is a framework that values a particular set of human abilities—curiosity, sociability, resilience, self-awareness, integrity, resourcefulness, creativity, and empathy. It’s not based on a conservative or liberal agenda. Instead, the framework is based on research that suggests these abilities are core to how youth and adults flourish in life. When young people possess these abilities, they are more likely to succeed in an increasingly complex society.

How do you Express your Family Values?

My Parenting Promise, pictured below, was designed to articulate a set of family values that positively impact child and adolescent development. They are habits of thinking and behaving that honor our full range of human behavior—our strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and imperfections. When parents put these values into everyday action, they help create a healthy learning environment for their children and themselves.

Parenting-Promise- Family Values: What Children Learn from Parents, by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD

The parenting promise is a response to what youth want most—to believe in themselves and learn to chart their own paths through life. The promise links to I Have a Dream, a statement co-written by teens and supported by research in human development.

Family values are critical to developing each of the compass abilities and increasing a child’s well-being. Please consider sharing and discussing My Parenting Promise and I Have a Dream with your children, becoming more intentional about what your family values most. Perhaps you and your children will decide to write your own promises. Whatever you decide, hang them in a place where you’ll be reminded each day of how precious your family is and how much you learn from one another through your words and actions.

You are welcome to download and print My Parenting Promise. To do so, either click here or on the image above. Gratitude to the staff at Corners Outreach in Atlanta for translating the Parenting Promise into Spanish. You can download the Spanish Version here. You might also be interested in Our Community Promise, another frame-ready document designed for use by schools, nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses who wish to foster the compass abilities in youth.

Featured Image Credit: szefei

Published: February 3, 2016